What to Do Where the Sidewalk Ends

Sidewalks blocked by construction are a problem everywhere — perhaps even more so since the real estate bubble burst, and so many projects have been indefinitely halted. Today on the Streetsblog Network, Broken Sidewalk reports on the issue from Louisville, Kentucky. Apparently developers in that city routinely make no provision for the safe passage of pedestrians during construction — and one local advocacy group, the Coalition for the Advancement of Regional Transportation (CART) is calling for change:

sidewalk_closed_03_500x375.jpgConstruction forces pedestrians out into a busy street in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: CART

Sidewalks are too often neglected by construction sites around the
city.  It’s easy to block a sidewalk and assume pedestrians — like
water —  will find a way around. Examples abound all over the city,
but CART recently picked up on

a sidewalk that has apparently been blocked on heavily traveled
Bardstown Road and plans a rally Monday afternoon to draw attention to
pedestrian rights.…Here’s what CART has to say about the issue:

"The city has issued a permit shutting down walking on
one side of Bardstown Road for almost a month. Crossing to the other
side of the road is highly impractical – Bardstown is a busy 4 lane
arterial. They can require the construction of a plywood tunnel, but
they have not. They can annex the adjacent flex lane for people on
foot, but they have not. There’s a whole library of tools they could
employ, but they have not.

“At some level the city knows these closures result in people taking
risks. But even more insidious is the destruction of walking as a
viable means of transportation. When you stand in front of this closed
sidewalk, no number of walkability plans will convince you that walking
is valued in Louisville.…"

In New York City, many construction sites provide at least some protected walkways for displaced pedestrians, although these are often inadequate. What’s the procedure in your municipality?

More from around the network: SoapBoxLA on the new LAPD chief’s impressive outreach to bicyclists. Good news on rising numbers of people on bicycles from Biking Toronto. And How We Drive has the scoop on how porn caused a traffic jam in Moscow.

  • Thanks for the link, and it’s true… more and more people in Toronto are discovering bikes… a full 54% are some kind of either recreational or utilitarian cyclist. Not to say that 54% of Torontonians use their bike every day, but that many uses their bike at least sometimes.

    Pretty good for a city of 2.5 million. That means 1,350,000 of us use bikes. 🙂

  • Laura G

    Having recently moved from Brooklyn to Richmond, VA, I’ve really noticed the detrimental effect of not having pedestrian passages around/through construction sites when the sidewalk is blocked. I find myself frequently being forced to walk in the street with cars whose drivers act like I’m the one doing something wrong when the (deliberately?) fly by within a foot of me, despite the fact that there’s a whole other clear lane into which they could have switched. Maybe if I was used to sidewalk closings with no work-around I would look ahead for them and cross at the previous intersection, but it still shocks me every time.

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