Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Day 12: Grocery shopping: Check

Grocery shopping has become the biggest ordeal, ever.

First, I have to travel via bus to the grocery store with one of my children. My husband, a newsman who promises to work days but never delivers, could watch both girls, but it’s helpful to have the extra-long double stroller available for stacking lots and lots of groceries and taking an empty, giant stroller on the bus is frowned upon, probably. And so what if I have to breastfeed Penelope on the curb of a parking lot littered with cigarette butts. Riding the bus is fun!

Anyhow, there’s something satisfying about the taste of a pork roast carried home in a backpack.

But that’s not all. The next day, it’s downtown shopping, which is decidedly more fun and less bus-intensive. There’s the college book store/corner store/Hallmark store kind of place. There’s the Garlic Press, where I bought homemade croutons and a hilarious gigantic calculator for my grandfather’s 91st birthday (take my word on it, it’s hilarious). There’s the ice cream shop and the farmer’s market where, thanks be to everything green, corn is in season.

While in Ace Hardware, where I now buy my cleaning supplies and paper products, my husband called to make sure it wasn’t me who had been hit crossing a particularly bad intersection near our house. He heard about it on the scanner.

Walking home, crossing that very intersection, was the first time I had considered the safety issues of not driving. I thought walking was much safer than driving.


The National Transportation Policy Project studied that question and found walking to be the most dangerous mode of travel. The most!

Good grief. Something else to worry about.

And I thought the bus was scary.


At 2:53 PM, Blogger Zoned In said...

Good point, Christine. The problem is that here the cars outnumber those on foot. In other countries (I've just returned from several months in Pakistan) where people outnumber vehicles, it's still dangerous, but less so I think because the drivers *expect* pedestrians (2 legged and 4 legged) to be doing weird and wonderful things right in front of their headlights... Walking will get better when more people choose to or have to walk.

At 8:52 AM, Blogger Eric said...

I think calling it the most "dangerous" is a misnomer. The approach of looking at pedestrian deaths as a percentage of overall traffic deaths isn't the right approach--one should instead consider deaths as a percentage of overall trips by that transit method.

Since pretty much everyone walks at least one block every day (I hope!), the percentage of pedestrian deaths compared to overall trips is very low.

To look at it yet another way--how many people have died because I chose to walk down the street today? Yet nearly every single pedestrian death happened because someone chose to drive a gas-powered automobile.

Save someone's life: Don't drive a car, eh?

Then, of course, there's the other caveats of how walking will probably make you healthier in the long run, so the risk of death in traffic measured against the potential health gain makes walking a pretty good choice (as the link suggests toward the end).

Really, though, this sentence is the most telling: "The most dangerous metropolitan area for walking in 2000/2001 was Orlando, followed by Tampa, West Palm Beach, Memphis, Miami, Jacksonville, Houston, Phoenix, Dallas-Ft. Worth, and Nashville."

It might as well be a list of pedestrian-unfriendly cities. Is it possible that communities designing their throughfares for automobile use create a culture of neglect for pedestrians?

Like they say, "Duh."

At 7:13 AM, Blogger melissa said...

Have you considered ordering non-perishables online? and both offer free shipping with orders over $25 on most things. Some large items don't qualify, but I've been ordering cleaning supplies from both places recently because I'm switching to green cleaners that my grocery store doesn't carry. Some items are available in bulk which makes them cheaper than at a brick and morter store as well.


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