May 232011

Spent the morning with the family in beautiful San Clemente, California.  Avenida Del Mar is a main village attraction and draws people to it with its many unique shops, Spanish colonial architecture, and pedestrian-friendly environment.  The people there are some of the friendliest you’ll meet anywhere.  Community leaders and businesses are very much into promoting a more vibrant downtown village experience and they realize that fostering a pedestrian-friendly, or “walkable” environment is an important factor.

*All photos copyright Vanderhawk Consulting LLC

Feb 052011

The time was about 11am (PST) and I was on my way to the Sprint store to exchange an old smart phone case for a new one (Evo 4G in case you were wondering).  I was on the wrong end of the traffic signal timing on my normal route so I decided to take a different route to my destination via Vista Way in Oceanside.  In hindsight I’m glad I did this.  I drove past an old woman walking west on the north side of Vista Way.  As she was about to cross Via Esmarca, I looked ahead and saw that the landscape sprinklers were spraying away not only on the landscape but also onto the adjacent sidewalk in front of her as well.  I pulled into the nearest lot, got out of the car, crossed through some bushes, and arrived on the sidewalk by the bus stop where she was patiently waiting for the next bus.

Pedestrian walking through wet sidewalk to arrive at bus stop

I introduced myself and explained my livelihood.  When asked about the wet sidewalk she said she has taken this route a number of times and this is the first time the sprinklers were on at this time of day.  “Why can’t they set them to go on early in the morning?” she asked.  I was about to jump back in my car when I saw another woman approaching the same intersection and looking to cross Vista Way to get to the strip mall to the south.

Pedestrian crossing Vista Way @ Via Esmarca (Oceanside, CA)

This woman glanced at the sprinklers to her right as if to be thankful that she didn’t have to continue westbound.   I proceeded to my car to head onto my predestined appointment with the Sprint store when I came across the gentleman below just a few hundred feet down the same road.

I wondered how his traveling experience could be made better.  Covered bus stops, perhaps?  Note the badly deteriorated asphalt concrete road shoulder and the accompanying ponded water.  Ponded water + frequent bus stops = concrete bus pads!