Solo American-Indians walking on the shoulder of the road with shopping bags in both hands: a sad sight in the land of the car (rural/suburban America) where pedestrians and non-spandex wearing cyclists are suspect. One immediately thinks, “She must be too poor to own a car,” or “He must have had his license taken because of a DUI.”
I saw people walking on the side of the road as 50 mph traffic whizzed by every day while staying with my mom half of this summer. She lives on private property within the Suquamish Indian Reservation in Washington State. It is a land of no sidewalks, where everyone who can drives, and public transport is spotty in frequency and coverage. It was the same in Layton, Utah where my dad and stepmother live and where I spent the other half of the summer.
How refreshing to return to Hong Kong where car ownership is low and ninety percent of journeys are done on public transport, making it the highest rate in the world. (via “Transportation in Hong Kong” on Wikipedia) (Oh, and I should say this is all withstanding my earlier post on the “The Unexpected Joy of Driving in Hong Kong.” I do not claim to be a populist/environmentalist saint.)
In core areas of Hong Kong Island, pedestrians are absolute kings. I recently spent a weekday morning whizzing around Central via the extensive network of walking paths that cross through buildings and across streets. It is an awesome feeling to stride overtop congested roadways, while dodging “the suits”/shoppers/tourists, and listening to the Beastie Boys via ear buds. A complete head rush of pedestrian power. These pedestrian thoroughfares, paired with the public transportation system of ferries, trains, trams, buses, and escalators, are one of the key joys of Hong Kong.
Long live Hong Kong where a well-timed old lady with a shopping trolley and Octopus Card can cross the city via a combination of ferry, pedestrian overpass, and MTR without halting her forward motion once.