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Spotlight on a Car-free Advocate

January 26, 2010

One foot in front of the other—seems simple enough.

UPDATE: Shawn’s letter to the editor was published in the Danbury Times!

Today, instead of writing about one of my own experiences, I’d like to shine a spotlight on a fellow car-free advocate: Shawn Sweeney.

Shawn is:

  • A former colleague
  • A friend
  • A vegan
  • A blogger
  • A model for the conviction-driven life

In the past, his convictions have driven him to post thoughtful comments on No Car Go. More recently, his convictions drove him to write a letter to the editor of the Danbury News Times in the Connecticut college town where he lives. Although Shawn has a car, he opts to walk to his place of employment with Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots on the campus of Western Connecticut State University.

Shawn’s choice to walk-commute is an admirable one, but it’s not without its share of challenges, as he points out in his letter. In particular, Shawn laments the paucity of pedestrian awareness on the part of drivers in his town.

“Why would people refuse to slow down for a pedestrian at a crosswalk?” Shawn asks. (An excellent question.) “Why wouldn’t people be more careful so as to avoid puddles and dousing said pedestrian with dirty rain water?!” (Another excellent question!)

Like Shawn, I have had my share of unpleasant walking experiences. However, for half of the population, the unpleasantness often hinges less on a lack of awareness than on a surplus thereof. Women, you know what I’m talking about:

“Want a ride, sexy?”

“Shake it, honey!”

[Vulgar whistle.]

I don’t know which is worse: feeling dirty from a mud puddle or feeling dirty from a sexist creep.

In any case, walking ain’t always easy. Thanks, Shawn, for taking the time to try to spread awareness of this fact. Hope the News Times gives your letter some air time!


P.S. I mentioned that Shawn’s a fellow blogger, right? Check out his blog, “Compassionate U,” under the “My Friends Say” list to your right!

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