For the reading thing, it's got to be a book that's not too dense prose-wise with not too small print. But as long as you don't walk too fast, it's not hard to look up briefly every few seconds. And yes, I look up longer when I get to a corner. A lot of people look at their phones while walking, sometimes with headphones on too, and I think having a book is a lot safer. I'd also reiterate the quiet neighborhood thing - where I live, I'll probably pass an average of one person on any given block when I do it on my lunch break.