Monday, February 22, 2010

Impact of uncleared sidewalks and trails on pedestrians

Many people, including the kids walking to school in the street pictured here, walk and bike to get where they need to go. About 1/3 of everyone in Fairfax doesn't drive; they are driven, they walk, bike, take the bus, etc. Our current transportation policy regarding snow clearance largely ignores these people.

Here is one of many, many stories about what pedestrians and bicyclists have to deal with when we don't treat walking and biking as legitimate forms of transportation:
I am a resident of Fairfax; on Nutley near the cross street of Kingsley Rd I was walking on the road as the sidewalk was covered beneath the snow from the plowed road. As I was walking on the edge of the road a truck came honking behind me. To get out of its way I tried to jump up the snow pile on the roadside but slide back enough that the passing truck hit my foot.

Although I was not injured I still find the incident disturbing, even more so because the truck did not stop. The only comment I would have is that we all need to remember to move with caution and act (drive/bike/walk) defensively. We have to share the road and since we can't control the actions of others we need to anticipate and pre-emptively act to prevent accidents.
This pedestrian lived to tell his tale. The pedestrian mentioned in the recent Post article Pedestrian killed on Branch Avenue while avoiding snowy sidewalks didn't.

Shouldn't some of our sidewalks and trails be cleared of snow? It may be unrealistic to clear all trails and sidewalks, but why don't we have snow priority routes for walkers and bikers? We could start by clearing sidewalks within a mile of schools, and along heavily-used sections of major bike commuter routes.



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