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Walking is not a crime

To the editor:

Have you ever been walking around town and noticed other people staring at you? It is a strange sensation. It is like people are judging you for using your legs for mobility instead of driving. This is my experience every time I come back to my beloved hometown, Nevada.

After living in Iowa City for four years, I can correctly say that cars colonize the public space of streets, and subsequently sidewalks. Jay Walljasper, a UI graduate in journalism, argues that people have “lost the right to walk around in their own neighborhood.” I can most certainly attest to that when I walk around Nevada. I do not own a car, nor do I need one in Iowa City, and walking around in Iowa City is normal for everybody. However, when I walk as transportation in Nevada, I get suspicious stares and little chats from the police. Not only is this ridiculous, but it seems that Nevada has shunned the right to walk. Sometimes people walking around are not criminals, and I really hope the town understands this. We need to share public space and use it to our advantage. The more people that walk around on sidewalks, the more likely it is they will gain social capital. The sidewalk is one of the lost aspects of common ground that the town had. We should share our commonalities and expose individualism that segregates society, even if this segregation is against people who are not driving a car. The sidewalks are there for a reason, and this town needs to use them more effectively with fewer stigmas.

William Kunkle

Iowa City

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