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Oct 2

Written by: Greg Runyon
10/2/2009 7:30 AM 

With the return of cooler weather, I’m finding more enjoyment in going for a walk.  It’s nice to do some bipedal locomotion and not sweat yer patootie off.  I particularly enjoy it in the early morning or early evening.

 

Someone once described golf as “a good walk spoiled.”  You know what else spoils a good walk?  The ridiculous state of the sidewalks in Cedar Rapids.  Don’t get me wrong; the ones that exist are generally okay.  But there are far too few sidewalks to begin with, and the ones that are there often just randomly stop when you get to a corner.  There’s just no sidewalk to cross to.

 

I give Cedar Rapids some credit:  We have a nice trail system here.  But seriously, I don’t want to have to drive somewhere to walk somewhere.  I just want to amble down the streets in my neighborhood, but rather than doing it in the actual street, I’d like to be on the sidewalk, where I’m at least a little less likely to be flattened by a passing car with some dope texting their b.f.f., Jill.

 

To me, it shows a lack of ‘finish’ to not have sidewalks.  I will grant you that on my street, for example, there is no good way to put in sidewalks, given the narrowness of the road and the hilly nature of my area.  However, there are plenty of places I walked just this morning with adequate room to put in some sidewalks.  I guess no one wants to bother, though.

 

It’s probably impossible at this late juncture to get this done anyway.  I’m not Captain Property Law, so I don’t know what’s involved.  I would presume that property owners who do not have adjacent sidewalks have full, unhindered use of their property to the curb.  The city could claim eminent domain, I suppose, and put sidewalks in.  But maybe it’s not worth the fight at this point.

 

I guess it just seems a bit slapdash.  I was walking down 32nd Street NE, a fairly busy thoroughfare, the other morning, and the sidewalk just ended abruptly at a corner.  Because I was just strolling, I didn’t really care where I was walking, so I just turned down a side street.  But why shouldn’t the sidewalk continue, particularly along a road handling that volume of traffic?  What if I wanted to walk down to the grocery store that’s on that street?  I don’t think walking in the street is the best idea there, what with the aforementioned texting dopes and all.

 

That’s but one example, though.  This problem exists all over town.  Look around sometime when you’re out, if you can tear yourself away from your texting.  You’ll see a depressing lack of sidewalk out there.  My favorite thing is when a sidewalk just randomly ends in the middle of a block.  Odd, to say the least, but it happens.

 

We as a society already don’t walk enough.  Heck, if something is a mile away, gotta drive it.  Heaven forbid you walk the 15 or 20 minutes.  I’m about as guilty as anyone else on that score, but I’m aware of my failing in that regard, and hoping to better myself.  The city, though, ain’t helping by not laying sidewalks in neighborhoods.  Or, if it’s up to the developers of neighborhoods to lay them, they need to have their feet held to the fire.

 

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3 comment(s) so far...

Re: The City of the Sidewalk To Nowhere

Speaking from a tiny bit of experience with sidewalks and the city lately...there is currently a 5 year waiting list for the "program" that splits replacement costs for homeowners with the city. 5 YEARS??!?! That is ridiculous! And after speaking with a guy from the city, his opinion is that the program will not be there in 5 years because they are barely able to foot the bill as it is.

What he believes will happen (and what goes on in other cities) is that if the city deems your sidewalk is unacceptable, they will send you a letter and you will have to replace it 100% at your cost. If you do not, they will fix it and charge you the amount, plus fees.

Needless to say, we paid for ours to get fixed on our own dime ... but I think I might send the city a bill and tell them to man up!

You've just hit a soft spot with crap I've been dealing with myself....thanks Greg!! It's nice to get that off my chest!

By Karol Kelly on   10/2/2009 8:52 AM

Re: The City of the Sidewalk To Nowhere

I haven't finished reading yet, but I just need to say: HEY!! >:-[ Now I'll finish reading.

By Jill on   10/2/2009 3:48 PM

Re: The City of the Sidewalk To Nowhere

As a mother of three (all of who no longer need to be pushed in a stroller) and one who likes to babsit for friends, there is nothing more frustrating and dangerous than to be walking a child in a stroller and have the sidewalk end forcing you to either turnaround and go back home or walk in street. Seriously Cedar Rapids, what's up with that?

By Loretta on   10/6/2009 10:31 AM

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