Sculpture: Victoria Bellinger, Silver Lake, S.I. ( victoriabellinger.com/index/html )
Unfit for pedestrians
Last August, I walked from home to the perimeter of Staten Island's Greenbelt, whereupon all pedestrian amenities vanished and I was forced to continue my walk in a gully at the side of the road, along with the beer cans, bottles and other assorted trash thrown there. Drivers whizzed by, leaving only a very few feet between me and them. It was scary and I was mad.
Here's some of what I wrote about that incident in a post dated August 27:
"Walkers have right of safe access to the Greenbelt, just as those who arrive in cars do. We represent a fraction of the footprint of a car, in terms of the space we occupy and the impact we have on the environment. Yet cars, often with only one occupant, are provided roads that are built and maintained by the tax dollars of walkers as well as drivers. For our tax dollars, we get a narrow, dangerous strip of deteriorated macadam.
"Sidewalks should be installed bordering every main road, street or avenue in the Greenbelt. I understand the legitimate concern of those who see only another encroachment on the Greenbelt's 'Forever Wild' mandate. But providing a means of access for those who walk rather than ride is a matter of fairness and equity--a pretty fundamental ideal."
A meeting with the Greenbelt's administrator
I learned later from fellow blogger Steve Patterson of Urban Review STL.com that there is a national organization called Complete the Street which is promoting precisely this idea--but a better one than mine because it provides for cyclists as well as pedestrians.
I intend to state the No Safe Access for Pedestrians problem and suggest the Complete the Street solution at a meeting tomorrow evening of Staten Island's premier environmental organization, Protectors of Pine Oak Woods, of which I'm a member. The Greenbelt's administrator is scheduled as guest speaker, so I'll be directing my questions and comments to her.
I'll report on the meeting in a day or two.