Thursday, September 11, 2014


Walkability is the new buzz about cities. I’m reading a book about walkable cities. I totally get it. It’s what makes a neighborhood vibrant. A person, walking, on two feet, can get around. One can go where one needs to go. I reap the benefits of walking every day. Exploring, however, it what really makes walking fun. To go exploring, especially in a hilly city, means stairs.

Stairs connect streets in places where the terrain is too steep for real roads. Cars can’t go here. Bikes have to be carried. Wheelchairs are rough. Feet are required. Feet and eyes and sometimes hands on the rails, where possible. 

I’ve been on some cool stairs over the years. We stepped up some really long stairs in Juneau. Houses are built into the hillside without any access to roads. Stairs are all you get. In some Los Angeles neighborhoods, the hilly streets are switchbacks and stairs connect the streets in straight lines, through people’s yards, so walkers can zip up and down. We borrowed my son’s roomate’s book on the subject and enjoyed several hours of exploring there.

Here is a set I found yesterday in Richmond, connecting Franklin to Main. So cool!