Sometimes a photo just makes you throw your hands up in frustration and confusion. This is one of those photos:
Sent to us by Strong Towns member, Cory Johnston, this photo nicely encapsulates the failure of local governments to provide proper pedestrian amenities, and also their failure to follow the basic rule that most of us learn in kindergarten: "Play nice with your neighbors." #PedestrianUnfriendly
Cory told us the story behind the photo:
This is the north entrance to the City of the Village of Clarkston, Michigan. The sidewalk is in the surrounding Charter Township of Independence and ends at the border between the city and township. [...] It has been this way for at least 36 years, which is how long I have lived in the area. The city did vote to extend the sidewalk about two years ago, but needed an easement from the property owner to do it and they would not provide it. Property owners are responsible for removing snow from sidewalks and they may not have wanted the responsibility, or just may have not wanted people walking in front of their property.
We have no bike lanes or other alternatives other than driving. I have tried [....and had] MDOT do a walkabilty study about 5 years ago. [We] almost had MDOT convinced that at least a bike lane could be added to the overly wide Main Street, but others thought parking was more important.
Sadly, in auto-oriented areas like this one, it is unsurprising that it took over 30 years for the city to even consider extending the sidewalk to allow residents to safely walk from one town to the other. It probably didn't occur to the people in charge that anyone might actually want to walk there. Here are a few more photos Cory shared of #PedestrianUnfriendly sidewalk endings in his community:
We're glad to have Strong Citizens like Cory doing their best to make their towns more walkable, even when it seems like an uphill battle.