Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sidewalk Nightmares: Fort Worth's Aim To Be Walkable

On the left you are looking at a screencap of part of an article I read yesterday in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram titled Sidewalk dreams: Fort Worth aims to be a walkable city which I found to be a bit confounding.

A snip from the article...

Fort Worth City Councilman Dennis Shingleton said the city can encourage developers to build more sidewalks and connect developments with schools through various incentives.

“We have a chance to impose our will — if you will the bully pulpit — on developers and tell them here is what we want — we want sidewalks that are six feet wide,” Shingleton said as an example.

Now, why is it up to developers to develop Fort Worth's sidewalks? Do developers develop the roads the developments use?

How is it that other towns manage to have sidewalks on both sides of all the roads that run through their town? Like Tacoma. In Washington. I've walked all over Tacoma. I do not recollect ever walking anywhere in Tacoma where I was not walking on a sidewalk, a nice, wide sidewalk, usually with a strip of landscaping between the sidewalk and the road.

This same sidewalk reality exists in many other towns in which I have walked. Fort Worth is actually the first time I have ever experienced a town which is so sidewalk challenged. Well, there was the time I walked around in Algadones, Mexico and noticed there were few sidewalks. If I remember right I have opined about this perplexing problem previously, that being the Fort Worth sidewalk shortage, not the Algadones sidewalk shortage. This is the first time I've mentioned the Algadones sidewalk shortage.

In addition to learning about Fort Worth's sidewalk dreams, in this article I also learned about something called the Blue Zones initiative which somehow is a vision for walkable healthy cities. And then regarding this Blue Zones project thing there was the following disturbing paragraph...

The Blue Zones project in Fort Worth is headed by Julie Wilson, who said they received over 800 applications for the initial 18 staff positions to run the five-year initiative, and they are still accepting applications.

Julie Wilson? Is she not the controversial lady who used to be the chief propaganda shill for Chesapeake Energy? 800 applicants for 18 jobs? Are these paying positions? If so, how much is being spent to pay for the 18 Blue Zone staffers? And from whence is the money coming? Could that money not be better spent building sidewalks?

Why doesn't Fort Worth do something revolutionary, well revolutionary for Fort Worth, and put a sidewalk building bond issue on a ballot?

In Fort Worth you really do not need to waste money doing any sort of study to figure out where to build sidewalks.

Fort Worth's beleaguered walkers have already determined where the sidewalks need to be. To find out where a sidewalk needs to be all one needs to do is drive a Fort Worth road, Bridge Street or John T. White Road, for example, and make note of where people have worn a path in the dirt along side the road.

That is where you need a sidewalk.

No study needed.....

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