I grew up in Milwaukee, over by Nash Park / 82nd Street School before it was Milwaukee German Immersion. We moved to the Zoo Interchange area in the 90s. I have also lived in Lenexa, Kansas (a suburb of KC) and Jacksonville, Florida. Both of the places I lived in Milwaukee were much more walkable than places I've lived in the other cities, and Milwaukee residents should be proud of this .

Lenexa was nice. It had several parks within walking distance. In fact, it was easier to get to those parks than it is for most people to get to Cannon Park or Wisconsin Avenue Park. The two main problem with walking in Lenexa were the hills and the sidewalks. The hills were annoying, and anyone with foot or back issues would have some problems walking these substantial hills. Every block there was like 92nd Street south of Bluemound. The other issue was the narrow sidewalks, which made it difficult to pass anyone else or walk next to a loved one. This was made even more nerve-racking on Lackman Road, where the narrow sidewalk went right up to the road. And since there's no parking lanes in Lenexa, that meant cars whizzing by at 45 mph a few feet away. When our kids used to get close to Bluemound or Wisconsin, we were a little apprehensive, but most Wisconsin drivers never use the parking lane to pass (it's not Illinois). Just imagine what it would be like if we eliminated the parking lanes on our major roads and you'd have Lenexa and Jacksonville.

The problem with Jacksonville is total traffic on main roads. It's like if you had Bluemound without Wisconsin or Watertown Plank and 84th without 92nd or 76th. There are no mid-major roads, no grids, and no place to go to avoid the traffic. The good news is that there's at least some space next to the roads for sidewalks, and the walkways are at least wider than those in Lenexa. But crossing any street in Jacksonville is just plain dangerous, mostly because drivers don't care that you're around. People in Milwaukee are just better at looking for pedestrians. And pedestrians in Milwaukee are also better at using crosswalks.

Make sure that you appreciate all the great opportunities to walk around your own neighborhood. Fight to make sure the area stays pedestrian-friendly. Commuters who use the Zoo Interchange don't care about the walkability of your area, so it's really up to you to make sure it remains.