When I first moved to Durham, NC more than 10 years ago, I noticed there were quite a few folks in my age group I considered to be overweight.
And then it hit me like a ton of bricks---The reason why baby boomers in my neck of the woods are overweight is because there are NO SIDEWALKS! Trying to exercise by walking in many Durham neighborhoods becomes a hazardous mission when you are competing with vehicles for road space. It’s especially challenging when the vehicles refuse to obey the speed limit signs or refuse to give us the right of way.
I never paid much attention to the city not having neighborhood sidewalks until this morning when my husband and I took a five-mile walk in Largo, MD. There were sidewalks for miles and miles and miles. And check this out: there were sidewalks on both sides of the street! It didn’t matter that it was hot and humid at 8am. Just the thought of strolling along on a beautiful sidewalk made exercising worthwhile and so enjoyable!
Many baby boomers in Durham are forced to take their lives into their own hands when they try to exercise. I wonder what developers were thinking about when they decided not to include sidewalks in their overall plans. Maybe they just figured we didn’t need them because we’d much rather spend our time smoking cigarettes in the city known for being the American Historic Tobacco District.