Monday, November 10, 2008

it's my party and i'll walk if i want to

Now, I don't to be a Debbie Downer, but it's a bad state of affairs when we throw a party over a sidewalk. That's exactly what happened on Good Hope Road last weekend, as residents of Great Hope Homes - a subsidized rental-townhome community - celebrated the completion of a footpath they'd spent ten years fighting for.

This bothers me for a couple of reasons. First of all, we're talking about a historically-black community that didn't see running water or electricity until the 1960's, right around the time more affluent families started moving to the neighborhood. It's unsettling that people here had to push for ten years to get a project that took less than a month to finish.

Second of all, sidewalks should already exist on streets with any pedestrian use - and Good Hope Road is one, with bus routes, a community park, and an elementary school. The construction of a sidewalk shouldn't be a matter of "hey, look what we did," it's "why haven't we done this already?"

When it comes to promoting pedestrian safety, good sidewalks are one cheap, fairly easy way to give walkers an easier time. Never mind aesthetics, which the Good Hope sidewalk - narrow, curbless and lined with a metal barrier more appropriate for the median of I-95 - already lacks.

A sidewalk is nothing to celebrate, because it should be a given, and it's a sad commentary on the County's priorities. On the other hand: if we'll throw a party for a sidewalk, do we get a parade for the new roundabouts on Fairland Road?

1 comment:

Dave Murphy said...

Wow, this makes me absolutely furious. I'll admit, I'm angry over the poor state of my neighborhood roads, but I have also done little to fix it. It blows my mind that they have been fighting for 10 years for a damn sidewalk on a bus route and they are finally receiving it.

I'm sure their renting status and perhaps income played a role in their inability to get the most basic amenity, but perhaps community leaders in places like Colesville might seek to work with community leaders from more successful areas, like Kemp Mill, who have had dozens of upgrades brought to their neighborhood because of the successful activism of the Hasidic Jewish congregation there that has vocally fought for better pedestrian amenities around their synagogue and better traffic control on Arcola Avenue and Kemp Mill Road. Could there be some type of community outreach to assist neighborhoods struggling for sidewalks and crosswalks?