View Full Version : Sidewalks/alleys needed

08-28-2005, 06:23 PM
This pasty week, Sam Bowman suggested that we need more sidewalks in OKC. I couldn't agree with him more. All progressive cities have decent side walks where citizens can walk and ride bikes through their neighborhoods. Unfortunately, in OKC when people walk through their neighborhoods, they're forced into the street, which isn't exactly safe.

It's obvious that OKC has grown quickly, as many small details like sidewalks and alleys weren't thought about when planning the city.

Personally, I'd love to see alleys as well, although it would be costly to move fences and restructure landscapes. Alleys, however, would make access to utilities easier, and would move trash pick up from street-sde to alley-side, improving the overall appearance of our neighborhoods.

"Council considers sidewalk additions

By Bryan Dean
The Oklahoman

The Oklahoma City Council wants to make it easier to walk along city streets.
The council is considering several measures that would require more sidewalks included in new construction and pledge city bond money for building sidewalks.

Ward 2 Councilman Sam Bowman said the city has separated its residents over the years by allowing new development without pedestrian access. People who can't or don't want to drive a car are often left with few options, he said.

"Connecting this city through sidewalks, I think, is vitally important," Bowman said. "I feel that the city has encouraged a disconnect kind of philosophy."

Sidewalks are generally required in new residential developments but not along major arterial streets.

Bowman mentioned May Avenue between NW 23 and NW 50 as a prime example of the problem. He called the street a commercial hot spot.

"You have churches, you have Northwest Classen High School," Bowman said. "Northwest Classen High School doesn't even have sidewalks on the May Avenue side. There is no safe way to promote or encourage people to walk. There are examples like that all over the city."

The lack of sidewalks discourages pedestrians, who might have to walk through tall grass, ditches or other obstacles when there is no sidewalk. In some cases, a fence or other obstruction might force a pedestrian into the street.

Jan Walker of Oklahoma City walked along N May near NW 36 Thursday morning on her way to a bus stop. She said it's no fun being pushed into the street when there is no other place to walk.

"I do worry about it when I'm with my children," Walker said. "It's very upsetting."

Walker said she also worries about the students who have to walk to nearby Northwest Classen High School and Taft Middle School.

Bowman is pushing a resolution that would ask the city planning commission to set priorities for sidewalk locations, while the city council looks for ways to pay for them, including future general obligation bond money.

The council is also considering ordinances that would require developers to include sidewalks in all new construction, except in rural areas. Sidewalks would also be required before building permits would be issued for redevelopment in the inner city.

Developer Paul Odom III attended a recent council workshop where the issue was discussed.

"We need a lot more sidewalks, and as a developer, I'm very much in favor of it," Odom said. "I have no problem paying for that in the right locations. I don't think you are going to have much problem with the developers."

Even when sidewalks are built, there usually isn't dedicated money to maintain them. Many sidewalks in older parts of the city have deteriorated because neighbors cannot afford their upkeep, Ward 6 Councilwoman Ann Simank said.

"I think we need to also identify ways to have ongoing maintenance," Simank said.

Council members agreed the need for new sidewalks is greatest in areas frequented by children.

"We should give priority to parks and libraries and schools because that's where your children are most likely to be injured," Ward 5 Councilman Jerry Foshee said. "It's going to be a tough issue deciding where these sidewalks go, which area gets priority over which other area." "

08-28-2005, 09:03 PM
Amen, Patrick. And kudos to Councilman Bowman for the suggestion. This reminds me of when Anthony McDermid did a presentation at the Mayor's Development Roundtable a few years ago. On Powerpoint, he showed a picture to the audience and said, "This is called a sidewalk."

God bless sidewalks. They get people to where they want to go. They don't require an air-polluting fuel to use. They put people (and their eyes) on the streets. And sheesh, you can actually get exercise using them!!

I'm also a fan of alleys, for the same reason Patrick said. I've seen them in new master planned communities and decades-old neighborhoods, and in both cases they do help tidy the streets. Especially if parking is available through them. Some say that they create a place for seedy activity and crime, but as with other neighborhoods, the committment of the residents will determine whether that is allowed to happen or not.

08-30-2005, 01:09 AM


Streetfront retail!

Here! Here!