When People Have Nowhere To Drive, They Walk

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Preface: So much of the media we are consuming right now is obviously related to the Covid-19 pandemic, and I could not be more sensitive to this issue. While I won’t ignore the elephant in the room, my goal as we work through this crisis is to continue our conversations about communities, trying to take a positive approach. There are plenty of articles out there cataloging the devastation of our local economies due to this virus, and I’m not pushing that aside in the slightest. But the content we will deliver in this time will focus on the uplifting stories, as well as what we will do after we overcome this terrible period. I believe we will persevere, and as difficult as this new reality is for all of us, I am going to focus on the powerful spirit of this country and this planet.

This is strictly anecdotal. I have no stats to back this up. But I’ve suddenly found a very poignant result of the Covid-19 pandemic… more people are walking and enjoying our local trails.

My commute takes me along the brand new Highland Crossing Trail, a mile-long piece of pedestrian and cycling connectivity that winds through nature between two major thoroughfares.

Rochester/Brighton’s Highland Crossing Trail, Fall 2019

The trail hasn’t seen a full summer yet, so utilization is still somewhat small. The most people I’ve ever seen on the trail on a one way trip is 4. Today, on my way home from work, I saw a total of 17. Families with their children on bikes, couples talking a leisurely stroll, and a pregnant woman going for a vigorous walk. Everyone was appropriately distancing themselves from the others on the trail, giving a very wide berth out of respect for our public health.

It’s amazing what happens when people have nowhere to drive to. It’s amazing when our world must suddenly become simple, how we value the power of a brisk walk on a connecting trail. Sure, part of this is motivated by the fact that we may be days away from a total lockdown and everyone wants to get in that last good hike. Either way, it was great to see people outside tonight, enjoying their community with their families… maybe when we get through this, we will remember how good that felt, and change the way we move about as a result!

Stay safe. Be well. Love one another.

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