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El Paso’s Suburbs Are Getting Sidewalks and Local TV News Talked to Pedestrians About It

7:42 PM EDT on May 31, 2017

Suburban El Paso County, Texas, is getting sidewalks — and people are happy about it. Image: KFOX-TV

Hard to believe, but "controversial" sidewalks are a thing. Usually the controversy involves single-family home owners who don't want to live in a place where people walk past their homes. The conflict between local governments and indignant property owners is hard for local news media to pass up. Lost in the scrum are the voices of people walking on those streets, and an understanding of why it's important to have safe places for walking in the first place.

So it was refreshing to see this news item from KFOX-TV in El Paso reporting on new sidewalks installed in Sparks, an outlying suburban area, by the county and the Texas Department of Transportation:

Before this, residents had to walk on dirt next to the street. It was a safety concern for people such as joggers or children walking to and from school... People in the community tell KFOX14 the new sidewalks have already made a difference in the safety of the community. "Now that they're adding sidewalks over there, I feel safer, and I don't feel like I have to look to the road to see if anyone is coming. It just makes me feel better," said Marcos Limon.

With the first phase of the project wrapping up, additional streets in El Paso County are set to get sidewalks, as well. Now, if the state DOT, the county and the press paid this type of attention to the wide roads and sprawling land use evident in the KFOX story, we'd really be getting somewhere.

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