Saturday, August 9, 2008

Pedist Envy

Growing up in my town you could walk anywhere your little heart desired. There were even people so determined to be swept up in the roller-blading craze that you saw them bumping down their gravel lane; I most definitely didn't go that far, as even on a smooth sidewalk, I scoot along without picking up my feet.

After the town I grew up in, I moved to Portland (the Portland on the other coast for you New Englanders) which is quite possibly the most pedestrian and bike friendly city in the world...well, I've not been to NYC, LA or really any other major city in the world so it's obviously an exaggeration, but you get the drift. I then moved to Massachusetts, and my visions of strolling along the streets of the quintessential New England small town were dashed. There is no strolling along a 50 mile an hour freeway with no shoulder.

I know I've already complained about this in a previous post, and had kind of made peace with the fact that to go for a walk, you have to pack the stroller in the car and drive to the walking trail, park or other area with sidewalks. Then I went to visit my sister in Iowa.

My visions of Iowa were that it would be a corn-filled, dull and flat expanse with nothing exciting going on. I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived at Iowa City, and my sister took me downtown, parked the car and we headed toward the 'Ped Mall'. It was not even necessary that we drive downtown, as it's just over two miles from her house and has sidewalk access the whole way. Had I been at home without a car, I'd still have been able to go downtown and explore...something that's not even a remote possibility where I live.

In the center of the Ped Mall is a huge play structure, flanked by a Bread Garden grocery store, the IC public library, tons of great shops and restaurants and a mini-splash pad for the kiddies to play in. When I loaded up the kids in the stroller to accompany my sister to her bridal hair run-through, it quickly became apparent that H would not be as entertained by sniffing and testing the various Aveda products as would I, so I headed out and walked over to the PedMall.

We had about 45 minutes to kill, and it flew by. First at the play structure, then heading into the Children's Room in the library where H played at the train table and we read stories. Walking back to the salon in the perfect low-80's moderate humidity weather, I felt really happy. I told my sister that she's so lucky to live here, and that it will be a great place to raise kids. Yep, I have pedist envy.

I realize that pedist is most likely not the right word, but pedestrian envy doesn't have the same catchy ring.


Crafty Mama said...

I've been living in "our" area for about six years and yes, there isn't many places to just walk. I've only lived in one city that was conducive to walking---Newport, RI. But IC sounds fabulous! P.S. Aveda has the best-smelling products in the world........

That Girl said...

That is one of the things I love about Cville...the downtown mall. Many years ago they closed down the street, bricked it over and now it is about 5 blocks of nothing but great shops and restaurants, all of which have outside seating. Gotta love it.

Portlandia said...

I miss walking with you and our tiny firstborns in P-town! You won't be in Mass. forever!

Portlandia said...

And LA is NOT a pedestrian city at all!

Alex Elliot said...

The lack of sidewalks here in MA just sucks. Iowa City is awesome. We thought about living there.