Be prepared. Being carless means you’ll need to have everything you need for your trip on your person, since you won’t be able to stash things in your car when you go somewhere. But being prepared isn’t just about what you carry with you; it’s also about how you dress. I’ve only lived in OKC for a little over a month, and I’ve experienced the full range of weather – this city goes from hot, to cold, to hot and cold at the same time (hot sun and freezing wind), dry, to humid, all in the matter of a week. Dressing in layers is fine if you have a destination where you can shed your outer layers, but carrying excess clothing around on a long walk can be a hassle. Then what about shoes? You need to know where you’ll be walking, and if you’re unsure of the terrain, it’s best to put on running shoes just in case the pedestrian infrastructure isn’t very good. Are you going to take public transit somewhere? Better have cash on hand or a bus pass. Taxi? Cash. Bicycle? Lock. Always be prepared, or you’re going to have a bad time.
JOHN's WALK to WORK: 21/25
From The Regency (Red Star) to 420 W. Main St. (Green Star)
The Regency 420 W. Main St.
The first walk I’m going to score is my walk to work. I walk to work every day. ½-mile to work in the morning, ½-mile back for lunch, ½-mile back to work, and then ½-mile back home at 5:00pm. At this distance I don’t have to worry too much about what shoes I’m wearing. I carry a bag with me that has what I need for work, as well as a hat, gloves, and an umbrella just in case the weather turns on me during the day. Downtown OKC is a great place to live if you’re a city government worker because everything is centrally located. The majority of my co-workers have more than 30-minute commutes, and often it takes more time for them to find a parking spot and walk to the office than it does for me to just walk from my front door. The sidewalks are good, and traffic is only really bad right before 8:00am and right after 5:00pm. Each of these ratings will have scores in 5 categories: Distance, pedestrian access, atmosphere, transportation options, and land use. (These may change in future ratings). The scores will be added up to give a total out of a possible 25 points (5 As would be 25 points; 5 Fs would be 5 points)
The distance falls within the A grade of my distance score.
The pedestrian infrastructure is well-maintained and has great access for the disabled. An A.
The atmosphere is so-so due to some rough characters around the bus station across the street from my building, but mostly people are well-behaved. Something unique to this walk in the mornings is the giant swarms of Grackle birds. I’m not exaggerating when I say there are thousands of them roosting and flying around, which can make the walk somewhat perilous. It’s really something the city should take care of. All things considered, I’ll give it a C.
There are plenty of transportation options – People walk, ride bikes, drive their cars and take public transit. Definitely an A.
There are several restaurants and convenient stores along the way, but there are also many surface parking lots and vacant buildings. C.
So that’s 3 As and 2 Cs. If an A = 5 points and C = 3, then that gives this walk a score of 21 out of a possible 25. It’s a very manageable trek, and I’m fortunate to have such good access to my place of business!