Build sidewalks … and they will walk and run.
In late August, Linda Bates, mayor of Hambleton (population about 250) was out in the middle of the road, overseeing the bulldozer that was digging a trench for the next section of sidewalk. The tiny Tucker County town doesn’t have a lot of money to spend, she said. “We get a little lottery money, and every year, we build a little more sidewalk.” Residents pitch in to help, and the guy with the bulldozer gives them an amazing rate, “and little by little, our elderly people have a safe sidewalk to walk on,” Bates said. “And they’re using it.”
Want sidewalks that encourage walking and running?
- Check the design of your sidewalks with runners in mind. How can sidewalks best promote walking and running and other aims? How do they interact with biking and other transportation?
- Here’s a thoughtful site on that subject from the NYC Department of City Planning. http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/sidewalk_experience/index.shtml,
- The League of American Bicyclists works closely with two companies that design sidewalks that encourage biking: www.altaplanning.com and www.tooledesign.com. Their sites show what people have done elsewhere.
- Become familiar with sidewalk design and engineering standards:
- Engineering and design information: www.walkinginfo.org/engineering
- Americans for Disabilities standards: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/publications/sidewalks/chap4a.cfm
- Federal Highway Administration “Pedestrian Facilities Users Guide:” http://katana.hsrc.unc.edu/cms/downloads/PedFacility_UserGuide2002.pdf
Finding ways to fund sidewalks.
- Hambleton uses lottery proceeds to expand their sidewalks, a bit at a time, using their lottery money. Local residents donate labor and low-cost bulldozer time.
- Williamstown applied for and received Federal Highway Administration funding designated for “non-traditional transportion projects that include improving safety for pedestrians and bicycles through the construction of sidewalks and trails. http://www.newsandsentinel.com/page/content.detail/id/572414.html
- Fayetteville built about two miles of sidewalk up Nickelville Road, a popular running road. “There’s a lot more people running up here since those sidewalks went in, and it’s a lot safer,” said local resident Margaret Honnaker.
- Parkersburg City Council approved this sidewalk replacement program: If residents and businesses want their sidewalks replaced, they can pay for materials, and the city will provide the labor. http://www.newsandsentinel.com/page/content.detail/id/574171/Parkersburg-to-offer-sidewalk-replacement-program.html.