Friday, February 8, 2008

commuting by foot (where the sidewalk ends)

WHAT'S UP THE PIKE: Frederick County says no to proposed retreat center for Silver Spring-based Muslim sect; Transit Center construction to begin this summer; Councilman Elrich interviewed (on public access cable) about Live Nation deal.

I have a friend whose father used to run from their home in Springbrook Village to his job at FEMA in Southwest. He did this every day for several decades. When I went out, I'd always see him running down the median of Route 29. His doctor said it was unhealthy because of all the pollution, so he cut the commute down by riding a bike instead. Not long after, he was hit by a car - though fortunately, he survived, albeit with a limp.

In response to his accident and several others like it, I'm sure, the County broke ground today on a sidewalk on Colesville Road between Lorain Avenue and Northwest Branch Park in Four Corners. County Executive Ike Leggett and a handful of other public officials attended the ceremony for the path, which will be little over a half-mile long.

Speakers waxed poetic about the project's significance. "‘Where the sidewalk ends’ is great for a children’s poem, but not so great for neighborhoods, so I’m pleased that we’ve been able to close the gaps and connect communities," Councilwoman Nancy Floreen (D-At Large) was quoted as saying.

It may be excusable that Route 29 doesn't have any pedestrian or bike trails Up The Pike, where it functions more or less as a freeway. But in densely populated communities like Four Corners, where Colesville also serves a significant amount of local and neighborhood traffic, sidewalks should be a given.

And holding a press conference for a sidewalk is even more ridiculous. Why is this considered an accomplishment? Sidewalks should be like electricity: everyone has access to it. We shouldn't be celebrating the construction of a new sidewalk. We should be fighting for the ones that don't exist yet, as if the communities not connected by them are still living by candlelight.


Anonymous said...

Congrats to the Frederick Planning Commission for making the right decision. And thank you for not buckling under the bullying tactics of those who would call you discriminatory for saying NO to this project.

Anonymous said...

Great project, but enough wasted time and effort with the horn-tooting press conferences. I just happened to be riding north on 29 and saw the crowd & cameras. There must have been 35+ people there. Think of how much more productive they could have been doing something other than that press conference.

Anonymous said...

This project will interfer with efforts to upgrade US 29 to limited access to the Beltway. Many years ago they were going to build a big interchange at Four Corners at University Boulevard to progress to that goal. If revived and with an interchange at Lockwood Drive the goal of converting 29 to a high speed limited access freeway can be accomplished. Sidewalks detract from that goal by introducing pedestrians and other homeless people to a high speed traffic environment.

Burnt Mills Resident said...

Well, hurrah, if this limits the opportunity for 29 to be converted to a high speed limited access freeway. And introducing pedestrians is bad how? By making it too easy to take public transit? Encouraging people to get out of their cars and walk? I live in Burnt Mills, and risk my life walking across 29 from the bus stop every day. I have seen a person hit by a car at Burnt Mills Ave and 29, and almost was killed myself when someone ran the red light at that intersection, going about 60 miles an hour. I am extremely happy to have the option of jogging or biking to my office in downtown SS, though, I agree that a press conference is OTT.

b said...

I spent 23 years in Europe and managed to tour Germany, France, Italy, Holland, Denmark, and Spain, all without a car. Public transit, bicycle, and yes, the lowley sidewalk. Though not as easy here, I still manage without a car.

Joe said...

Why not a cantilever sidewalk? Should be cheaper and quicker than a huge retaining wall.

WashingtonGardener said...

JUTP - I agree sidewalks SHOULD be a no-brainer. Unfortuantely there are certain homeowners and citizens who actually fight AGAINST them - the 2nd Anon. poster on this page is one example and gum up the works delaying needed projects such as ths one. So I say celebrate away when the good deed is finally completed!

Anonymous said...

I commend JUTP for knowing some of the long history of this project. In fact the local Orthodox Jewish Community lobbied for these improvement for decades. Somehow this project is now being spun as an FDA inspired improvement for dedicated bicycle commuters.

The event was more political and much deeper than pedestrian safety. It was a chance for some to press the flesh with certain politicians. This is very much tied to the closed power politics of the FDA and White Oak area. (Does anyone feel that new vacuum--stay out of the way or you'll get sucked in.)

Many of the attentive and supportive attendees were not only anxious to cozy-up to the politicians (and visa-versa), but wanted to redirect credit for this long-delayed, bit-by-bit sidewalk project. Perception usually overwhelms reality in East County.

lilkunta said...

@anonymous 3:06p
What? U crazy? A interchange @ NHampAve\Colesville & Univ/Colesvile?

There is Burnt Mills Elem w kids plus all the jews who walk on fri/saturday.

@ 29/Univ there is Blair high school with students AND STAFF?TEACHERS who jaywalk.

There will NEVER and should never be any construction to increase traffic in these already heavily car populated areas!