Walking for Accessibility: A Conversation with Jonathon Stalls

We recently sat down with Jonathon Stalls, an artist, social entrepreneur, and passionate advocate for accessibility. Jonathon’s journey began in 2010 when he spent 242 days walking across the United States, sparking his lifelong commitment to walking and making cities more pedestrian-friendly.

The Start of a Journey

Q: How did you develop a passion for walking?

Jonathon Stalls: Walking became my medicine and teacher during my 242-day walk across the U.S. in 2010. I needed a reset and found immense mental, emotional, and physical benefits from this unhurried pace of life.

Pedestrian Dignity Project

Q: What inspired the Pedestrian Dignity project, and how does your connection to walking play a role?

Jonathon Stalls: Intrinsic Paths, my creative work, includes the Pedestrian Dignity project. It focuses on the experiences of those who walk or use wheelchairs. After years of walking as my main transportation, I saw the dangers pedestrians face. This project aims to highlight these issues and push for safer, more accessible spaces.

Jonathon Stalls

Real-World Impact

Q: Can you share a story where improving accessibility made a difference?

Jonathon Stalls: My friend Phyllis Mack worked to improve sidewalks and bus stops near her home in Denver. Her efforts led to a $400,000 infrastructure improvement project, significantly enhancing mobility and safety for her community.

Urban Planning for All

Q: Why is accessible pedestrian infrastructure crucial in urban planning?

Jonathon Stalls: Everyone deserves safe and comfortable access to everyday places. Prioritizing pedestrian infrastructure improves public health, safety, and community connections.

Inclusive Mobility Solutions

Q: How can communities ensure their infrastructure supports everyone?

Jonathon Stalls: Include people with disabilities in every phase of planning and allocate resources for pedestrian infrastructure. Campaigns like National Week Without Driving help raise awareness and promote policy changes.

Technology and Accessibility

Q: What role can technology play in improving accessibility for pedestrians?

Jonathon Stalls: Technology like RightHear can enhance accessibility, but it needs to be supported by solid infrastructure like sidewalks and ramps.

Looking Ahead

Q: What are your aspirations for Intrinsic Paths, and what advice do you have for promoting accessibility?

Jonathon Stalls: I aim to continue advocating for mobility justice and inspiring others. For those promoting accessibility, make your experiences public, report gaps, and engage local leaders. Collective efforts are essential for meaningful change.

For more on Jonathon’s work, visit IntrinsicPaths.com and follow @PedestrianDignity on Instagram and TikTok.

Stay tuned for more updates on RightHear’s journey as we strive to make the world a more inclusive place for everyone.