If you have ever traversed the Chandler Bikeway, you may have felt the path’s goodwill that flows like a gentle wind. The path is more than just cement and skateboards and wagging tails!
I don’t know who the Burbank leaders are who decided to build the path, but I wonder if they knew of the social impact this long and winding sidewalk would bring to everyone who traipses through.
I have met people from all walks of life: young couples with new babies, children with new puppies, senior couples walking hand in hand, an autistic teen riding joyfully on a scooter; singers on bikes belting out their song; hardworking groups of runners preparing for the marathon, a kid on a unicycle with exceptional balance.
People smile, say hello or wave their hand. Some people talk on the phone as they walk, arguing with a loved one or catching up with a sister that lives far away.
There is a beautiful Vietnamese woman who tells me her story of heartache as she and her family were forced to leave their country. I see the little girl whose dad is teaching her to ride a bike for the first time. I see a pregnant woman trudging up and down the path each evening and we exchange salutations. Then I see her one day with her new bundle of joy! There is a woman with a dog who just lost her elderly father and she shares her grief with me.
The walkway reminds me that community and neighborhoods are places where you can connect with others with compassion and understanding regardless of where you came from. Everyone you see on the Chandler Bikeway has a story and a common goal. That path is not just cement, it is a window into what society could be.