Tuesday, January 11, 2011
So while I appreciated everything that Munich had to offer in the way of walkability, I wasn't quite ready to call it the best in the world...until I discovered this:
No really, they do.
Not only that, they did it promptly and consistently every single time a pedestrian appeared on the horizon. I was stunned, especially given that here in LA a pedestrian is lucky to get that kind of behavior even when they have the right of way.
And it wasn't just this crossing. I found similar behavior at unsignalized crossings all over the region. Once I got over the shock, it was pretty empowering. Suddenly I understood what it feels like when pedestrians are given the same kind of respect that vehicles receive. Crossing the road went from being a daring feat to an ordinary part of navigating the streetscape, just like turning a corner.
It reminded me that all the pedestrian-friendly infrastructure in the world doesn't mean much if vehicles are still systematically placed above people in the hierarchy of travel modes. A truly walkable city doesn't just have walkable streets, it has a walkable attitude. And Munich definitely has it.