Santa Rosa woman, 72, near goal of walking every street in the city

  • Eva Martin, 72, marks off another street on her map as she walks through a neighborhood on the west side of Santa Rosa, on Thursday, February 21, 2013. Martin is nearly done with her quest to walk along every street in Santa Rosa. (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)

You must get out and walk, Eva Martin's cardiologist told her. As someone who'd suffered three heart attacks, she knew the doc was right.

But the prospect of stepping out her door and padding again and again about her neighborhood off Sonoma Highway in east Santa Rosa sounded so boring.

So about this time in 2011, Martin, then 70, devised a challenge: To walk every street in the city.

As she closes in on completing the mission, she values her new-gained perspective on Santa Rosa and she swears she feels renewed.

"This has been just a lifesaver," said a grandmother proud to call herself The Streetwalker.

A native of Hamburg, Germany, who came to America in 1961 aboard the Queen Mary, Martin was methodical in her quest.

Before the launch two years ago, she did some research to determine what she was getting herself into. "I checked with Public Works and they said there are more than 500 miles of streets in Santa Rosa."

She acquired a current city map and decided to use a colorful highlighter to mark off each street she'd walked.

Rather than carry the map with her, unfolding and folding it as she went, she planned to photocopy just the quadrant she would walk that day. She would pause frequently to trace each street or portion of a street she'd covered, and upon returning home would use the photocopy as a guide to update the master map.

Martin set out from home in the St. Francis Acres neighborhood on March 1, 2011. As she moved farther from home, she had to drive to her starting point or ask her husband, Bob, who's retired from Optical Coating Laboratories, to shuttle her.

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