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What to Do Where the Sidewalk Ends

11:00 AM EST on January 19, 2010

Sidewalks blocked by construction are a problem everywhere -- perhaps even more so since the real estate bubble burst, and so many projects have been indefinitely halted. Today on the Streetsblog Network, Broken Sidewalk reports on the issue from Louisville, Kentucky. Apparently developers in that city routinely make no provision for the safe passage of pedestrians during construction -- and one local advocacy group, the Coalition for the Advancement of Regional Transportation (CART) is calling for change:

sidewalk_closed_03_500x375.jpgConstruction forces pedestrians out into a busy street in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo: CART)

Sidewalks are too often neglected by construction sites around the
city.  It’s easy to block a sidewalk and assume pedestrians -- like
water --  will find a way around. Examples abound all over the city,
but CART recently picked up on
a sidewalk that has apparently been blocked on heavily traveled
Bardstown Road and plans a rally Monday afternoon to draw attention to
pedestrian rights.…Here’s what CART has to say about the issue:

"The city has issued a permit shutting down walking on
one side of Bardstown Road for almost a month. Crossing to the other
side of the road is highly impractical – Bardstown is a busy 4 lane
arterial. They can require the construction of a plywood tunnel, but
they have not. They can annex the adjacent flex lane for people on
foot, but they have not. There’s a whole library of tools they could
employ, but they have not.

“At some level the city knows these closures result in people taking
risks. But even more insidious is the destruction of walking as a
viable means of transportation. When you stand in front of this closed
sidewalk, no number of walkability plans will convince you that walking
is valued in Louisville.…"

In New York City, many construction sites provide at least some protected walkways for displaced pedestrians, although these are often inadequate. What's the procedure in your municipality?

More from around the network: SoapBoxLA on the new LAPD chief's impressive outreach to bicyclists. Good news on rising numbers of people on bicycles from Biking Toronto. And How We Drive has the scoop on how porn caused a traffic jam in Moscow.

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