I've resolved to walk more this year for all the obvious reasons: I want to reduce my carbon footprint, my waistline and my fuel budget.
Mostly, though, I want to walk more because I can. As a resident of the town of Oneonta's West End, I am fortunate to live in a community where I could do a significant chunk of my regular errands on foot.
Many of the places I routinely visit are within a mile and a half of home: my mother's house, and my in-laws'; my daughter's elementary school; the two banks I do business with; the place where I mail packages and buy stamps; four restaurants I like; a neighborhood food store where I buy bread, milk, cheese and cold cuts.
The National Soccer Hall of Fame, where my daughter has attended several birthday parties, is half a mile away. In the summer, there's a farm stand a tenth of a mile away. Even my hairdresser is within walking distance now; she recently relocated to a salon less than a mile from my house.
In a rural area, it doesn't get much better than this.
I'm a West Ender from way back. Growing up, I walked a lot _ to elementary school, to swim lessons and to my first job, scooping ice cream at the Dairy Queen.
A lot has changed since my mom shopped at Grand Union and Ames, mostly for the better. Sure, we could use a supermarket and a retail store on this end of town, but instead of focusing on what we lack, I'm appreciating what we've got: wide, new sidewalks on Oneida and Chestnut streets; a graphics designer who has revitalized the old dry-cleaning storage building; a furniture store where the old dress factory used to be; two new delis and the promise of more small businesses, coming soon to the West Gate Plaza.