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Walker wlks: Denis the dentist part 10

Few in Los Angeles get more joy from walking than the walking activist Alissa Walker (I kid you not). A journalist by trade, she has lived car-free by choice since 2007 and is on the steering committee of Los Angeles Walks, a volunteer organization dedicated to repairing the city's image as a walker's wasteland. "The basic goal is to make people realize you can walk in L.A.," she said. Better sidewalks, signage and city policies are all part of their mission.

Ms. Walker for years through the writing community but the jubilant images she posts to Instagram (@awalkerinLA) and her blog (AWalkerinLA.com) -- mostly of her glamorously adorned feet on some oddly alluring stairway or crosswalk -- made me want to get out there with her.

I met her one warm, clear day in the Silver Lake neighborhood, and from her two-story royal blue house with white trim we walked along some of her favorite routes. She was wearing a billowy pink dress and neon coral sandals, and she had teal toenails that matched her sunglasses. At the bottom of her hill are the Music Box Steps, made famous in Laurel and Hardy's 1932 Academy Award-winning short film, "The Music Box," and now one of more than 100 vintage stairways hidden around the city.

Ms. Walker showed me the nearly completed bike lanes under construction as part of a "road diet" that's turning four lanes of car traffic to one on Rowena Avenue. And we walked around the Silver Lake Reservoir and on up Swan's Way, one of the city's steepest staircases, with views to the lake, downtown and the San Gabriel Mountains beyond. "If you squint you can imagine women in petticoats walking here a hundred years ago," Ms. Walker said. "But you can also see the near future, when you'll be able to walk Los Angeles without people asking 'What are you walking for?' "


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