A New "Cultural Tourist Agency" Teaches Angelenos How to Walk in the City

A new group encourages L.A. residents to walk and enjoy walking.

Walking in L.A. isn't as much a pastime as it is a punchline for many residents of our fair city. But walking does seem to be experiencing something of a renaissance, with the proliferation of urban hikers making mega-treks through the city, and a move towards redesigning streets that better accommodate walkers.

On the heels of these movements is the new cultural group Being Pedestrian, which encourages Los Angeles residents not only to walk, but to pay attention to the various factors, physical and invisible, that contribute to a positive pedestrian experience.

Being Pedestrian is headed by two Saras, Sara Daleiden and Sara Wookey, who were tapped by the Community Redevelopment Agency to create a public art project for the South Park neighborhood of L.A.'s downtown. Their idea to create a series of walking tours fit with the CRA's mandate (to make neighborhoods more livable through promoting pedestrian activity), but as they researched the routes, Daleiden and Wookey found there was more underfoot. "After many hours walking South Park and learning about the neighborhood, we discovered delightful nuances—in the pedestrian experience, changes in the sidewalks, in the crosswalk spaces, in the tile treatments," says Daledien. "We wanted to help Angelenos in the neighborhood and beyond enrich their sense of wonder for the city through walking."

Unlike so many transportation-related initiatives, Being Pedestrian isn't an advocacy group. Instead, the two Saras call it a cultural tourist agency. "According to the tourism bureau LA Inc. tourism is LA's number one industry," says Daleiden. "We are interested in a form of tourism based in walking a neighborhood to enjoy the transitions in the urban landscape, as opposed to focusing on spectacular landmark destinations." Being Pedestrian believes that "culture" can be found just as easily in the contours of a sidewalk as it can in the grand glinted gestures of Disney Concert Hall—all Angelenos have to do is pay attention.

On the Being Pedestrian site, anyone can learn how to walk with this heightened awareness. Prompts that ask pedestrians to consider what makes a sidewalk comfortable sidewalk and how crosswalks make you feel help walkers understand what designers have done to make their stroll more pleasant (or in some cases, neglected to do). These physical prompts are combined with more unusual requests like pausing to examine the scale of expansive buildings, which teaches walkers to stop and look up periodically. They've even mapped a section of downtown's South Park to help walkers recognize the different urban design elements that inform their walking decisions.

Of course, the jabs are inevitable: "Only in L.A. do people need instructions on how to walk," quipped a commenter on a recent Facebook post. But Daleiden thinks any city would be able to benefit from a similar program, since most have also been designed for the automobile. "They've also been shaped by many of the same urban conditions which shaped L.A., even if our city is a reference for an extreme hotbed for urban design that is diverse and distanced." she says. "We do think L.A.'s vast urban landscape is walkable if you have an open mind."

You can join Being Pedestrian at A South Park Picnic on Saturday, March 12 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. at Grand Hope Park in downtown Los Angeles. Being Pedestrian and Habeas Lounge will be offering walking tours, conversations with planning experts, reflective mapping exercises and, they promise, a few surprises. Tours will happen throughout the afternoon so people can arrive at any time, as long as you're ready to walk.

Center for American Progress Action Fund

Tonight's Democratic debate is a must-watch for followers of the 2020 election. And it's a nice distraction from the impeachment inquiry currently enveloping all of the political oxygen in America right now.

For most people, the main draw will be newly anointed frontrunner Pete Buttigieg, who has surprisingly surged to first place in Iowa and suddenly competing in New Hampshire. Will the other Democrats attack him? How will Elizabeth Warren react now that she's no longer sitting alone atop the primary field? After all, part of Buttigieg's rise has been his criticisms of Warren and her refusal to get into budgetary specifics over how she'd pay for her healthcare plan.

The good news is that Joe Biden apparently counts time travel amongst his other resume-building experience.

Keep Reading Show less
Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert

This election cycle, six women threw their hat in the ring for president, but is their gender holding them back? Would Americans feel comfortable with a woman leading the free world? Based on the last election, the answer is a swift no. And a new study backs this up. The study found that only 49% of American men would feel very comfortable with a woman serving as the head of the government. By comparison, 59% of women said they would feel comfortable with a woman in charge.

The Reykjavik Index for Leadership, which measures attitude towards women leaders, evaluated the attitudes of those living in the G7 countries as well as Brazil, China, India, and Russia. 22,000 adults in those 11 countries were surveyed on their attitudes about female leadership in 22 different sectors, including government, fashion, technology, media, banking and finance, education, and childcare.

Only two countries, Canada and the U.K., had a majority of respondents say they would be more comfortable with a female head of state. Germany (which currently has a female Chancellor), Japan, and Russia were the countries least comfortable with a female head of state.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

Keep Reading Show less
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.