New initiative for Walk Friendly Communities

Hey – great news from the Federal Highway Administration, of all places.

They’re starting a new initiative to encourage towns and cities to recommit to putting walkability as  a high priority. The program will  “evaluate community walkability and pedestrian safety through questions related to engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation and planning.”

“The Walk Friendly Communities program will show us how communities are improving walkability and demonstrating leadership in addressing pedestrian safety concerns,” said FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez.

Have a city you think should get reconized as a “Walk Friendly Community” – you can apply for official designation on their website:

I hope this means funding and help with creating new greenways.

Matt Green walked across America in 152 days

Matt Green -

I just happened to be driving back from the Oregon Coast on Highway 6, out of Tillamook, and saw Matt Green on the side of the road pushing a cart. I had no idea it was Matt Green at the time. I admit we shared a quick chuckle in the car because it appeared to be someone who had quite possibly chosen the worst possible place to vend something in recorded history (on the accelerating side of a hair pin turn, with a sign too small to read at our velocity). (update: Apparently the sign says ‘we may never meet again’)

I wish I’d known – he’s had an impressive adventure.

Check out to read about his 152 day walk across N. America. From New York to Rockaway Beach, Oregon.

I especially enjoyed his ‘long version’ of why he’s doing it, which quotes from Steinbeck’s Cannery Row:

Once when Doc was at the University of Chicago he had love trouble and he had worked too hard. He thought it would be nice to take a very long walk. He put on a little knapsack and he walked through Indiana and Kentucky and North Carolina and Georgia clear to Florida. He walked among farmers and mountain people, among the swamp people and fishermen. And everywhere people asked him why he was walking through the country.

And then he goes on to say some lovely things, such as:

But perhaps the thing I find most important about walking is how connected it makes me feel to the space I’m passing through. I think it’s because walking is the way we experience our homes. We walk to the fridge, we walk to bed, we walk around the yard. We walk to the copy machine, we walk to the coffee machine, we walk around the grocery store. So this is that same familiar stride, that most basic form of locomotion we know so well, but through vast, immense, unknown places. It’s a way to live a continuous line across the country as if it were my home.

Trek to Astoria: Introducing map-based competitions

I’m very thrilled to introduce map-based competitions.

We’re a big fan of Walker Tracker competitions here. They help you visualize your progress over a period of time. You can compete as a team or as an individual while poking friendly jibes at each other. Alternately, you can have your own private party, where you (or just you and your friends) are the star of the competition.

But when you walk — you cover real distance, and so it’s especially fun to put that analogy on a real map.

How long does it take to walk along the Grand Canyon? To stride along the Columbia river to the ocean? Walk from Portland, Oregon to Astoria Now you can find out for sure.

As you walk along, milestones are revealed to you, adding a sense of discovery to your journey.

Map competitions are in beta — but please feel free to hop in and try them out.

We received help from the very talented Adam DuVander, who is writing a book on map development on the web. Thanks Adam!

Incredibly Scary Walk…(video)

Yesterday I posted about walking some really fun stairs.

It seems appropriate to follow that up with an incredibly scary walk.

Warning: This video is vertigo-inducing.

More information on this walkway, built in 1905 in Spain, is here: Caminito del Rey