Running is not my favorite activity. However, I do love the feeling of endorphins after the run is over. All through college, I would try to run and would give up after only a few weeks. To be fair, I was in Ohio.
But I knew that I had to get back into running when my family decided to participate in a half marathon last February. So, last summer I set out to start running again. Here is where the running street becomes an important aspect. Over the last year of running, I’ve realized, more than anything, the environment I run in affects my mental ability to continue on with my run and not give up. It’s not music or listening to a podcasts; it’s entirely dependent on where I’m running.
My entire outlook has changed since I’ve realized that I can run a three mile loop that causes me to run past the U.S. Capitol. Since then, I’ve always completed my runs. The street I prefer is East Capitol Street, and I’m not the only one. In my mind, I’ve come to dub it as the running street because it is perfect for running. It is a pretty tree lined street with fairly wide sidewalks (unfortunately, the sidewalks are brick). It is a residential street that is fairly well lit with lots of houses that have nice yards. There are a few stores/businesses sprinkled among the houses with only a few traffic lights and minimal traffic because the street dead ends at the capitol. Finally, the closer you get to the Capitol Building the more police you see, which always makes me feel safer.
No matter what time of day I am on this street, there are always people running or walking dogs. On the weekends, there are families on bicycles or out doing yard work. It is a quiet street with a lazy mobility. It is never slammed with people unless it’s Halloween with trick-or-treating or the day after a blizzard with everyone walking to the Capitol to sled/take pictures.
Does this street meet all of my qualifications for a great public space? I believe so. The street consistently has a variety of people that use it at varying times of the day. While the street is primarily residential, there is a wide variety of business including doctors, corner stores, and a restaurant. The street itself is wide with broad sidewalks and a bike lane. The final issue of multiple uses is more difficult to determine because it is a street. However, the street is closed to automobile traffic during Halloween, so it does have multiple uses on at least one day of the year.
All in all, East Capitol Street from the Capitol Building to Lincoln Park is a wonderful street for meandering, looking at pretty buildings, and, of course, running.