I grew up in a “privileged” neighborhood which forbid both stores and sidewalks. I guess they were considered déclassé at the time. I was enchanted with the possibilities of sidewalks when I visited my grandparents in Buffalo, New York. I could go down one to the main street and buy penny candy at a store. I could roller skate. But, best of all, I could take a stick of chalk, draw a hopscotch pattern and play with other kids using just a rock and the sidewalk.
I determined at age eleven that when I was grown I would either live completely in the country surrounded by animals or I would live somewhere with sidewalks. Since I was thirty, I have always lived in houses with sidewalks. I think the real estate broker thought I was a little odd when I insisted at only looking at such houses. She had other priorities, but we wanted walk-ability above all else.
I am amused to see that in the neighboring “privileged” town they are methodically building sidewalks where none existed. Apparently they have begun to value a safer place to walk than on the side of the road. Interestingly, they built bike lanes before they thought of pedestrian traffic. Because they are being developed in a patchwork way, they really don’t function very well yet. But perhaps some time in the future some kid will take a piece of chalk outside, draw a hopscotch pattern, toss a rock, and start hopping. I certainly hope so.