I attended a city council strategy session last night. Part of the discussion was walkability, making the town a safer and easier place to walk. The main thing that I can see is that so many of the sidewalks need to be repaired, but apparently, there is nothing the mayor and council can do about that since it’s up to the property owner to maintain their sidewalks. The council can do something about the crosswalks, specifically the ends of the sidewalk that lead down into the street. So many of those curbs are broken, or too high, or missing. They need to make them accessible.
During the discussion, someone suggested putting bike paths on the wide streets, but oh, my, what a terrible idea! (And unnecessary in many cases because of existing sidewalks and because many of the streets are so lightly traveled they’re already serving as walking/biking paths.) First, dedicated paths would take away street parking, and second, they are dangerous to pedestrians. Since I’ve walked mile upon mile no matter where I’ve been, I have a lot of experience with bike/pedestrian paths, so I know how dangerous they are. Many bike riders do not give the right of way to pedestrians, whizzing past walkers, and often forcing them into car lanes. So . . . no. I sure hope they paid attention to my expert opinion.
People who don’t walk except to and from their cars, don’t know the challenges of walking or finding safe places to walk. After the meeting yesterday, we got to talking about possible places for me to walk in the area, and one suggestion was to walk in the community center. Apparently, the basketball court is open in the morning to give seniors a safe place to walk, but oh, how utterly boring! And how many laps to make three miles? Sixty? Eek.
Another suggestion was to walk around the golf course. Whether he meant walk around the course on the course itself, or walk around the outside of the course, is immaterial because neither is possible. The golf course is surrounded by barbed wire, so even when no one is golfing, the pathways are inaccessible. And to walk around the outside perimeter? Well, there is a little matter of locked gates and no way around them.
They also told me there was a pond out that way, with perhaps a trail around it, but if so, it had to be inside the golf course because there was no road to a pond. Still, it was a bit of an adventure, walking to an area I hadn’t yet explored.
I was told it is also possible to walk along the dikes next to the river, but no one could tell me how to get there without trespassing on private property, and oh, by the way, there are more gates along the dikes.
I’ll keep looking. There has to be a scenic (and relatively safe) place to walk around here.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.