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Recent Blog Entries: Walking

Further advantages to being car-free

September 18, 2012 By Debra Efroymson Dhaka, Walking Post a comment!

Yesterday the rickshaw I was traveling in was gently hit (tapped would be a better word) by a bicycle. The fellow pedaling my rickshaw immediately exploded in annoyance: “People have no patience!” To which a passer-by cheerfully and succinctly remarked, in what requires only four words in Bengali, “He has patience but no brakes.”

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Park your troubles for an hour

August 12, 2012 By Debra Efroymson Dhaka, Walking Post a comment!

Back in Dhaka, I take my dogs on morning walks to the lake. Between fasting for Ramadan and the rain, on some days there are very few people there. An elderly man in a bright yellow vest drifts in a small wooden boat past a brilliant explosion of water lilies. The trees glisten from the rain. The wide brick path looks particularly attractive and spacious both clean and empty.…

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A revolutionary concept: sidewalks are for pedestrians!!

March 7, 2012 By Debra Efroymson Dhaka, Walking Post a comment!

This morning as I was walking to work a young man rode his motorbike onto the sidewalk to avoid the congested street. I immediately blocked his path and reminded him of the previous day’s High Court decision to make the sidewalks motorcycle-free. He smiled at me and replied, “It hasn’t been implemented yet.” As we continued to argue, a policeman approached us and…

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Success, though sometimes rare, is wonderful

March 5, 2012 By Debra Efroymson Cycling, Walking Post a comment!

The High Court in Bangladesh just announced a major decision involving pedestrian rights and the importance of non-motorized transport. The decision includes reference to removing motorcycles and other motorized vehicles from sidewalks, creating safe crossings for pedestrians, and justifying (and possibly reversing) bans on cycle rickshaws on some streets. The success is only partial; the real test comes with implementation. But a positive decision gives us far more scope…

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A brief update

February 6, 2012 By Debra Efroymson Cycling, Dhaka, Livable Cities, Walking Post a comment!

Last month I wrote about barbed wire being used to block the median at the street that separates my home and office, so that crossing the street went from being scary and dangerous to truly terrifying. I was away for a couple of weeks, organizing seminars on liveable cities in Sri Lanka to government officials who expressed great interest in the concepts if only top-level policymakers would…

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Walking and cycling? You’re not serious!

January 22, 2012 By Debra Efroymson Livable Cities, Public Transit, Walking Post a comment!

One of the many uphill battles we face in promoting liveable cities is the belief that transport modes such as walking and cycling are not 'serious' or important. Many transport planners fail to give attention to short trips and to non-motorized modes. In transport counts, walking and cycling are often ignored; they may be considered at most a form of recreation, not transport. But just as walking is a…

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Another one bites the dust

January 9, 2012 By Debra Efroymson Cycling, Dhaka, Public Transit, Walking Post a comment!

I wrote last month about a journalist friend who has lost part of his leg after being run over by a bus while crossing the street here in Dhaka. Yesterday, a journalist here was killed while crossing the road on a motorbike, again by a bus. Motorbikes cause a number of problems, and can themselves (unlike pedestrians and, other than a few exceptional cases, cyclists) kill others as well…

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Fear, risk, and an odd acceptance

December 11, 2011 By Debra Efroymson Cycling, Dhaka, Public Transit, Walking Post a comment!

Yesterday evening I was looking at photos from earlier in the day of Dhaka riot police attacking protesters. Later that evening I heard what sounded like gunshots or Malatov cocktails not far from our home, followed by screaming. I was almost as frightened as my dogs, though I soon calmed down and realized I was at no risk (today someone told me that it was just fireworks from a…

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What is abnormal about our cities…

December 7, 2011 By Debra Efroymson Cycling, Dhaka, Livable Cities, Urban Planning, Walking Post a comment!

Today the opposition party has called a hartal (political strike). There will be demonstrations in parts of the city, probably accompanied by violence, but otherwise the city is quiet and peaceful. There are very few motorized vehicles of any sort and virtually no cars on the streets. I ask a colleague to go with me on a bike ride; we ride to and around Dhaka University, stop for fresh…

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