Lisa's Story - Walking for Quality of Life
[Story collected in a personal interview. Lisa is a member of the City of Boulder's Pedestrian Advisory Committee.]
I'm pretty lucky in that I am able to walk 15 minutes down Walnut Street to get to work. It's very pleasant. I really enjoy walking because it's relaxing - it's a time to de-stress, listen to music, catch up with my mom, or just think about things. I'm a software engineer, so I spend a lot of time sitting at a desk. Walking helps me clear my mind.
I've always had a passion for transportation, and I love walking and biking. I'm fortunate enough to be living and working in a place where it's safe and pleasant for me to do so, and I'd like to help create those conditions for other people. I want to understand ways to help shift the conversation away from walking, bicycling and transit being alternative modes of transportation toward those being accessible, safe and enjoyable modes for everyone. Being part of the Pedestrian Advisory Committee is a great way to help make walking more accessible for more people.
I find that my quality of life is higher when I'm in places like the Pearl Street Mall that are vibrant, where people are walking and enjoying the public spaces around them. I was fortunate enough to go to a university that had a walking campus, with no cars allowed inside. That was an amazing experience for me. After I graduated, I lived in Indianapolis and had to drive 20 minutes to work everyday. That prompted me to make a shift and move downtown. I ended up paying more than twice the rent, but I was able to walk to work and it was a huge quality of life increase.
The majority of our public space is dedicated to cars. I would love to see more of that public space dedicated to pedestrians, bicycles and transit so it becomes an easier choice for people to make. I've talked to a lot of people who would love to choose more active modes of transportation, but they don't feel safe, or even if they do feel safe, they just don't want to walk down 28th Street, where there are lots of cars and traffic and exhaust. I would love for us to dedicate more of the city-owned public space to walking, bicycling and transit so that more people can make that choice more often.