Perambulating Port Townsend, 6/19/98

I perambulate the town almost daily. I walk, I jog, I ride my bicycle. I am not one of those joggers with the radio headsets, either; I enjoy the birdsong, the streets, and the people I meet. I am learning the town through the soles of my feet, through the sights, and through the sounds.

One thing that I have learned is that walking and bicycling in Port Townsend can be pleasant and practical; but only if you have strong ankles (for rough walking), good eyesight, and good traffic sense. The lack of sidewalks, poorly maintained road edges, and poor visibility around hilly curves make most walking routes a little bit dangerous, as well as hard on the ankles.

I want to commend the City for the recent adoption of the Non-motorized Vehicle Transportation Plan. I don’t know the whole history of this plan, nor have I studied the details, but I am convinced that it is a good and necessary step toward making Port Townsend more friendly for pedestrians and bicyclists. I only hope that there will be popular support for this goal; support that will help us move faster to implement the planned improvements!

I want the exercise of regular walking. Many of us can benefit from walking; it is the best all round exercise, it is pleasant and sociable, and considerably cheaper than spending $40.00/month in health club dues. Jogging and biking provide more vigorous exercise almost as cheaply. But we need safe, convenient, and varied routes. We need a direct route to Aldrich’s or to the Coop to pick up bread and milk. We need extended routes for an evening stroll to Chetzemoka Park. We need routes to the beaches, and safe routes that connect us to longer trails for bike rides out of town. And we need variety in these routes. That same exact circuit of safe sidewalks may well pall over a few weeks, let alone over the years, so let us create many safe and pleasant routes. Why should there be any spot in Port Townsend that is not pleasant to walk to?

I am new here in town (somehow an embarrassing confession); so hello everyone! I have only lived here for twice four weeks, although I have owned property here for four years. I love it here, from previous visits, from my three month stay last summer, and from my first few weeks here. The light traffic and polite drivers make my walks and jogs very pleasant, but still this is not sufficient for safety, or for the comfort of anyone less vigorous or alert. I hope that I will be part of enhancing this (almost) perfect town, so that more of us take to the streets for exercise and enjoyment.


Sandra J. Stowell

Port Townsend, WA