This is not a typical blog. My posts will be edited and maintained.

Please note that these posts concern all levels of government, not just federal.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Roads should have sidewalks

All roads with moderate traffic, that is, anything bigger than small subdivision roads, should have sidewalks on at least one side.

Sidewalks on major roads (five lanes) do little good if people can't get to them. Locally, we have a road (Old Abingdon Highway) that is a two-lane windy road that goes between a major residential area and a shopping area. As it is now, the entire road is only 1.2 miles long, so it would be easy for local residents to walk or bike to stores rather than driving. My personal drive is about 2.5 miles, since I live up into the subdivision. But the road is windy with poor visibility in areas, has areas with no shoulders, and it passes under a narrow one-lane railroad bridge (recently modified with "Yield" lines and signs on each side, where it previously just had "Narrow Bridge" signs and lost the middle line), so walking would be dangerous at best. However, depending on property ownership (since the most dangerous areas are undeveloped, but may already be owned by the city, the railroad, or a plant that is nearby), most of this area could easily have sidewalks added. Even the railroad bridge crosses a creek nearby, and the sidewalk could route through that opening rather than needing to modify the bridge.

Other areas, like Virginia Avenue on the Tennessee side of town, had sidewalks in the past, but they have not been maintained and many have long since been lawned-over. And I can't blame the residents - an extra five feet of lawn looks better than a decrepit used-to-be sidewalk lumps of concrete. These should have been maintained, as maintenance costs less than replacement, but now that they are non-functional, they need to be brought back into service.

Many politicians talk about the need to reduce our carbon footprint, but they overlook simple steps like these that would not only reduce the need for vehicle travel but would also be beneficial to the residents.

Bike lanes would be nice, but not necessary; bicyclists are permitted on sidewalks. Unfortunately, more focus is spent on bike paths in parks and scenic areas where the leisure-minded can use them rather than in areas where they would be useful to everyday people.

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