Ralph Yeilding Quoted in The New York Times and Bham Now on Walking Every Street in Mountain Brook
The New York Times, Bham Now
Bradley partner Ralph Yeilding was quoted in The New York Times and Bham Now on a tremendous feat – walking every street in the city of Mountain Brook, Alabama.
Yeilding has lived in Mountain Brook his entire life, watching the city transform over the past six decades. When COVID-19 hit, Yeilding needed a way to find a sense of normalcy and keep moving. He decided to walk every single street throughout his city.
“During the pandemic, I actually sort of went into a funk and sort of lost my equilibrium a little bit,” Yeilding told The New York Times, “It was really an effort to sort of get myself back into the groove of normal work life.”
Similarly, Yeilding told Bham Now, “I guess I was one of those folks who was knocked on their heels by COVID. And I was a bit in a COVID funk, you might say. It’s an effort to get myself back into some semblance of a routine and improve my mental health. It just struck me that it would be interesting to walk the streets of Mountain Brook, and there were certainly a lot of areas I hadn’t gone to.”
Yeilding combined a good-old-fashioned map, like from his Boy Scout days, with modern day technology to optimize completing his mission.
“I would go out and walk an area from my house, and then come back and use a red magic marker to mark the streets that I walked that particular day,” explained Yeilding. “Then, I would take a screenshot of the map on my iPhone, and would take that to be able to figure out the best way to walk a particular area.”
Yeilding estimates he has walked 250 miles, which is about the length from Birmingham to Lexington, Kentucky. In order to achieve his ambitious goal, Yeilding walked seven to 14 miles several days a week, most of which occurred between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.
“I have determined there are 175 miles of streets in Mountain Brook. There are 494 streets and about 7,000-8,000 houses,” calculated Yeilding.” “One thing I learned in this whole endeavor is that the effort to put in sidewalks around our city really was jump started in the early 1990s. At that time, I understand, there were only about four miles of sidewalks in the city. Today, there are 46 miles of sidewalks in the city, which cover the major thoroughfares between all the villages.”
Not only is Yeilding unique in the fact that he has walked every street, but he did so with no music, podcasts or other distractions.
“That was an intentional decision on my part, so that I would be more in the moment and paying closer attention to my surroundings. I wanted to pay attention to the environment that I was walking through,” said Yeilding. “I learned just how interesting the different neighborhoods are, and the different types of architecture and how well maintained most homes are. And so that was very enjoyable–to just be more in the moment.”
The complete articles, “One Cure For Pandemic Doldrums: Walking Every Street in Your City” and "Mountain Brook local walks every street in the city—hear his unique story,” were published by The New York Times (login required) and Bham Now on March 24, 2022 and March 29, 2022, respectively.