I am, after all, an avid walker—though that was never necessarily by choice: having to sell my car to help pay for my masters degree, I bought a bike which was eventually stolen which in turn forced me to use my feet.
It was single-handedly one of the best and most life-altering things I was forced to do: explore my city by foot. It was through this exploration that I hit the harsh reality that we do had stopped created urban centers for humans: there was not a single thing to help dwarf the sense that one was a meandering amoeba in search of accessibility.
This thought was on repeat for the vast majority on the stretch of Broadway that was closed for All Things More Human that day.
And as I saw the furrowed brows and quiet scoffs of the bicyclists who had to pause, slow down, or outright stop for pedestrians—something I was often guilty when I was much riskier speed demon than I am on my bike nowadays—it was a quick reminder that even beyond just getting out of our cars, every now and then we should get off our bikes should we have the ability to use one.
Though the frustrated bicylists' reactions to being slowed down sparked the idea that we need to be on our feet more, the idea was smacked outta the ball park at one particular moment: a young person in a wheelchair, paused in the middle of Broadway in the middle of the Gayborhood. With bikes and scooters flying around, this person was just simply paused
. They looked around gleefully, smiling and saying hi to bicyclists and skaters as they zoomed around them.
It was likely the first time they've ever had the chance to just occupy a public space in that capacity.
I once said that there is a mutual understanding that urban, dense environments are going to provide discomforts—parking constraints, occasional noise interruptions to your quiet living room, traffic—but that the vibrancy of the urban ballet, as long as it is safe and ripe with human activity, far outweighs those concerns.
Part of that ballet is just being human—and I mean that in its physical sense: using your two feet and walking or your two arms to push your wheelchair or your electric wheelchair should you need it. "The passions have been sufficiently interpreted; the point now is to discover new ones," in the words of a Frenchman
. The passions—biking infrastructure, clearing the public real estate of its preference towards machines rather than humans, clustering together as
humans—have been identified but now it is time to take the next step (literally).
Go on a dérive.
Ignore the destinations—betrayals if there ever were any.
Stop for a pause, be it with your mode of transportation or your brain's racing, making traffic go around you and notice you and recognize you.
Make the city yours: that is what the city is there for.