A Pedestrian's Perspective on Sprawling Orange County

Southern California's Orange County isn't exactly known for its walkability. Frank H. Wu decided to test that notion on a recent carless visit.

1 minute read

March 11, 2015, 8:00 AM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


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David Eppstein / Wikimedia Commons

Frank H. Wu recounts his experience visiting Orange County on foot. His chosen mode is clearly unorthodox. From the article: "I see why people like to live there. It's comfortable, projecting the sense that there is no hardship in life. It's also designed around the car -- the built environment encourages everyone to drive from Point A to Point B."

Going carless in a region with such triumphant auto-oriented planning was a lonely experience for Wu. "On that first saunter down the street, I was the only person I saw walking. Over the course of about 2.5 miles, there was not a single soul on the sidewalk on my side of the street; I am not sure, since the street was several lanes wide, but I do not believe I spotted anyone else on the sidewalk on the other side of the street either."

Nevertheless, Wu survived without a car, and now extols the virtues of a pedestrian-friendly future in the area. "Nearby Los Angeles has been discovered as a walking citychampioned by a new generation; Orange County cannot be far behind. The next time there, I will be prepared to go greater distances."

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