News out of Washington DC: the US Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, has issued a ‘Call to Action’, encouraging Americans to consider ways to incorporate walking into their daily routine. Dr Murthy advocates walking as a way to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, and notes that for many people, time constraints or inhospitable streets make walking difficult. The Call to Action is relevant to Princeton, where
former Borough Mayor Yina Moore promoted the “Let’s Move” campaign, and where the current Mayor, Liz Lempert, holds ‘walk and talk’ meetings with local residents.
Despite the attention of elected officials, efforts to make Princeton friendlier to walkers have met resistance at the neighborhood level. Earlier this year, Council President Bernie Miller voted against an ordinance to establish sidewalks on Poe Road, in the Littlebrook neighborhood, in the face of concerted opposition by local homeowners.
Dr Murthy’s policy advice ought to be taken seriously by municipal decision makers. Walking brings a huge range of health benefits, including a reduction in the risk of obesity, lower blood pressure, and prevention of osteoporosis. Princeton is a pretty friendly town for walking, but car use is still dominant. Hopefully in the future, the town can find ways to make it easier and more fun for people to get around on foot.