Peggy Martinez: Change the world for the better, starting with that walkway out front

Dear Reader:

I am asking, on behalf of many pedestrians and cyclists, if you are at all able, please remove the blackberries, bikes, cars, bushes and other stuff that is moveable and controllable out of the path of travel in front of your home, business, government or municipal building, park or other place where people walk or bike. 

The very narrow strips of land designated for pedestrians and cyclists are often unusable and/or dangerous due to the variety of stuff in the way. 

Based on longitudinal anecdotal research, people of all ages and abilities will appreciate your consideration when walking or biking in front of your home or business. 

And, you, your family members and friends may also enjoy and appreciate the safety of an unobstructed path should you decide to stroll about town.

Now, just for fun, let us discuss the functional/contextual definitions of protrusions and obstructions.

Protrusions are objects such as tree limbs or blackberry bushes that stick out into the path of travel and are roughly between seven and 18 inches. 

Protrusions are difficult to detect by someone who is blind or low vision using a white cane because the cane basically only gives information about what is at ground level. 

Also, many sighted folks consciously render themselves oblivious by walking about in highly distracted states, looking at phones and other devices, or it is dark, or for whatever reason aren’t watching where they’re going. So, they too can easily smack into a bush, tree limb, guy wire or other object that protrudes into the path of travel. 

This often hurts, and pain, as you know, is painful.

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Obstructions are generally at ground level and are directly in the path of travel, cars, sandwich boards, some outdoor seating areas, phone poles, mailboxes, fire hydrants, bikes, basically anything that is directly in the path.

We have an aging infrastructure in our fabulous land and in many cases, obstructions have been built directly into the middle of the path by design. Ouch. 

Anyway, in those cases we know they cannot be easily removed. However, if there are items you can move, trim, generally maintain, please, please do so.

Thanks from many of us who walk and bike around town, and from me personally.

Peggy Martinez  is an Arcata resident, founder and president of Creative Inclusion, LLC, and non-lugubrious former vocalist for Barking Dogma.