. This strategy takes advantage
s and that side street
than main street
Imagine that in order to reach your destination you
would normally have to walk along busy streets a
mile east and then a mile north. Now, if you were
driving, you'd simply take the two streets and you'd be
there. Terrific. But since you're walking, you need a
Chances are there is a grid of lesser-used side streets
between your starting point and your destination.
Perhaps these streets have quaint homes on them instead
of strip malls. Perhaps there are trees with
sweet-sounding singing birds in them instead of
asphalt and engines. Perhaps there are charming parks
or school playgrounds to cut through as well.
(On the other hand, perhaps these side streets lead to
neighborhoods which are a little rougher than you'd
feel comfortable walking through -- you may want to
scope your route out first.)
If you start walking east and turn left onto the first
available side street that goes north, and then turn right
at the end of the block onto the first street that goes
east, you are on your way to maximizing the zigzags.
Now, at first glance, it's evident that you are
going to be walking the same distance east and the same
distance north as you would have if you had taken the main
streets, you're just going to be alternating between directions,
traveling a little each way at a time.
This would be true except there's much less
traffic on side streets. Instead of walking on the
sidewalk on one side of the street like you would have had
to do if you had taken the main streets, you can cut
diagonally across the side street. This is where
the benefit of the hypotenuse comes in. If you start at
the southwest corner of a quiet side street and walk
unimpeded to its northeast corner, you've saved the
difference between the square root of the sum of the
squares of the side street's length and width and the
sum of the side street's length and width. This done
repeatedly until you arrive at your destination can
amount to a huge savings in time!