which came first: the sidewalk or the corner store?

this associated press article about the effect on suburban sprawl on health has a quote from the researcher that struck me as off-key:

“Look at many new suburbs - there are not any sidewalks at all…. The result is we just don't walk,” said John Pucher of Rutgers University, who uncovered the U.S.-European disparities.

i don't think it is the lack of sidewalks that is the problem as much as the lack of places to go. somehow i manage to navigate the un-sidewalked parts between my apartment and the trader joe's in toluca lake whenever i head out that way.

a rhetorical question in the article also struck me: “Is there a walking or biking path to the post office, restaurant, a friend's house?” i can walk to the post office and many restaurants (which i've finally been doing a better job of exploring after i've lived in the same neighborhood for six years), but i think the last time i had a friend's house i could walk to was junior high school. i have learned to be extremely isolated even in a city of nearly four million people. (excuse to un-isolate next weekend: the trainables play at zen sushi next saturday. flyer.)

in columbus, ohio, they've turned a freeway overpass into a full-fledged city street, connecting two neighborhoods otherwise seperated by the freeway. calling it a connection is a bit of an understatement, really—the overpass has stores and on-street parking, making it basically indistinguishable from any other street. (i wonder how the $7 million cost compares to building a similarly-sized project that doesn't span a freeway.)