This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

More sidewalks

In late March, while I was taking pictures of brick sidewalks, I noticed that the sidewalk on Cullen Street was torn up. I remember that twenty years ago there were three old buildings divided into apartments in this stretch, and I recall visiting one of them as a census enumerator. The building in the background is Trinity United Methodist Church.
A few days later I noticed that a new sidewalk was under construction. This picture is not the greatest. The camera I was using was in the process of dying, so its picture quality was not the greatest. However, you might see that the construction activity at the end of the block.
I walked down and took a picture, shooting into the sun, which is never a good thing to do.

It is better to shot with the sun behind you, as I did in this picture.
Because I walk, run, and bike a lot, I notice sidewalks. Sometimes I even walk, run, or bike on them, but mostly I try to avoid them. I have run hundred of miles in the past five years, and less than one percent of it has been on sidewalks. However, I have tripped and fallen three time in the last five years, and every time it was on a sidewalk. I avoid sidewalks because they are dangerous. One reason they are dangerous is that a lot of them are in terrible shape, like the worthless sidewalk in the picture below.
There are sidewalks that are so overgrown that it is hard to tell if there is a sidewalk. Can you see the sidewalk in the picture below? Yes, there is one under the grass.
The park board is busy trying to develop a plan for trails. It would be nice if the city had a plan for sidewalks. Here is a suggestion. Sidewalks are essential along busy roads that people cannot walk on. For example, the part of College Avenue that is also US 231 has no shoulders. People cannot walk on the road, but there are many destinations that encourage people to walk along this street. Places like this should be priority one sidewalks. The city should make sure that the sidewalks are in very good shape. Right now there are several stretches along College where the sidewalks are not in good shape. Then there are areas in which the traffic is not quite so heavy, and there may be some shoulders, and there is still considerable foot traffic. These should be priority two sidewalks. College Avenue north of U.S 231 or Melville Street probably would qualify as examples. Finally, there are many streets that are wide with little vehicle traffic and little foot traffic. These should be priority three sidewalks. There is no reason to spend much on these sidewalks--it would be better for people to use the streets.

If you use sidewalks, I would be curious to hear what you think about the state of Rensselaer's sidewalks and what, if anything, should be done about them. Feel free to comment.

Update: I forgot to mention curbs. If a road has a curb on it, it makes it more pedestrian unfriendly and makes a sidewalk more attractive. If a road does not have sidewalks, it should also not have curbs.


Sarah said...

Hmmmm, how do I get this post into the right hands here in Indy, so our sidewalks can be improved as well?

jeffsgal212 said...

We live on Clark St., aka Hwy 114, where there is an abundance of foot traffic not only with Brookside Park as our neighbor, but now, unfortunately, with men from the correctional facility west of town walking to and from, I suppose, their jobs. Constantly people walking through our yard. I would much prefer a sidewalk for safety, and so what grass we DO have isn't worn down to the dirt.

Desert Survivor said...

A sidewalk plan is a great idea. More people will use sidewalks (thereby getting important health benefits and cut down on pollution) if they exist in the right spots--and are cared for.

Sheila said...

When I walk or run in town, I don't use the sidewalks much either. Some are well taken care of, but then go a few feet and chances are that there is either a poor sidewalk or no sidewalk. I agree...something needs to be done about them. Didn't someone suggest in an earlier post that you should run for office? =)