In 2012, my hometown joined the League of American Bicyclists’ list of bike-friendly cities. As I wrote in an earlier post, I’m fortunate in that I live near an extensive greenway system. I can run or hop on my bike and ride north, south, east or west with little problem. And more trails are in the works.
While I like that my city is a bike-friendly community, I am frustrated that it’s not a more walkable city. Too many neighborhoods have NO sidewalks. That’s right, no sidewalks. During the last mayoral campaign, the mayor and my city council rep stopped by my house and I told them of my concerns. In the past few weeks, my current city council rep stopped by my house campaigning for his party’s state rep nominee. I told him of my concerns. Nothing seems (and the key word is here is “seems”) to be happening to improve the situation.
Here’s what I see is a problem. A main thoroughfare goes past a major park that has a swimming pool. The thoroughfare has no sidewalks. It was probably originally built as a county road that was annexed into the city years ago. At dusk during the summer months I’ve seen kids walking down this road. Judging by the fact that the kids were wearing swimsuits and carrying towels, I can safely assume they were at the park pool. With no sidewalks, it’s only a matter of time before someone gets hit.
I live in a walkable neighborhood. Just one street in my immediate neighborhood has no sidewalk, and that street is just four blocks long. I can walk to church, to the park, to the library, to the bus, to downtown easily enough. Heck, I can even walk to a full-service grocery store and to Target (they’re within two miles). But what about those who don’t live in walkable neighborhoods and don’t have cars? What are their options? Walk down the side of a busy road hope they don’t get hit, I suppose.