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Thread: Renters like sidewalks, and we don't like sidewalks

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Renters like sidewalks, and we don't like sidewalks

    http://www.news-journalonline.com/Ne...ST01072203.htm

    What can I say?

    People look at every individual aspect of their regional slum (sidewalks, density, transit, mixed uses, brick facades) and assume that each of these elements can individually cause decay in their neighborhoods. How can sidewalks draw undesirables? Where will they draw them from? They'll only be a few feet closer to your house which is setback at least 20 feet. Its not even private property!

    There are some towns I could never work for because the residents would cause me to exibit uncontrollable rage. (Should I say that during job interviews?)

  2. #2
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    I think it has more to do with a fear that people who don't have cars wil access the neighborhood more easily, same with transit et all. Because we all know "those people" are all transit dependent walkers!

    Maybe they should pass an ordinance making driving on the streets with anything other than a SUV illegal too, you know, to keep people from buying vehicles that are unsafe in bad weather...

  3. #3
    In the two Cities where I have worked, a lot of residents would rather live next to a sewage plant than have a sidewalk running across the front of their property. Some of the reasons are:

    1. People from the inner city will get off the bus and walk past our house and if the garage is open, they will steal stuff
    2. People can walk by and look in my window and watch me change
    3. I don't want to shovel them
    4. I don't want kids going by my house at all hours of the day.
    5. I moved here to get away from sidewalks.
    6. If I want sidewalks, I will move to:____(insert a local city with sidewaks)
    7. I can walk on the street

    In the community where I used to work there was this insane stoner hippie alderman who recommended that we take out the curb and gutter and install gravel shoulders for people to walk on, rather than install sidewalks along this major arterial, this despite the fact that it took the City forever to get the curbs installed. He lost the vote and the sidewalks are in.

    Where I work now we have kind of compromised and have worked to install sidewalks on major roads, but not through subdivisions. People still bitch about them, but a lot of people use them.

    As for renters - talk about a grup of people who get screwed. People assume that you pay no property taxes because you rent. Yeah, like the landlord pays for the taxes out of their own pocket. Every single renter indirectly pays property taxes, and puts less of a strain on City services. We are doing neighborhood plans and I have been told to not include renters on the committee. My girlfriend currently lives in a community where you cannot park a car overnight on a City street, despite the fact that there are thousands of apartment units without adequate parking. I am surprised some communities haven't tried to find a way to exclude renters from voting in local elections.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    I never knew sidewalks could become so controversial. Most places I've lived have had them, although not on all streets. Maybe it's because I'm a runner, but I think they are really important for safety, exercise and community life.

    Articles like this - and some of the comments you all make about the public - are starting to frighen me. I don't know if I could deal with some of these whack-jobs. I guess I'm with Seabishop on that.

    And, what the hell does "in a city outside Minnesota" mean? Could the writer be more general?

  5. #5

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    Huh. I didn't think about how many of the things I hate about modern 1st world life are affected or related to sidewalks...

    Childhood obesity epidemic
    Dangerous air pollution
    Suburban animosity
    Traffic congestion
    Freshwater contamination

    there's half a second's contemplation. I'm sure more issues will come to mind.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Shovelling, construction and maintanance costs, and concern over trees are the only arguments that have any basis in reality. What does it matter if a robber or peeping tom walks in the street or a sidewalk?

    Its probably always the old cranks who don't have kids who have to walk to the bus stop and bike in the street. If not them who's complaining? - the family who moved to the suburbs "for the children" but think its better for the kids to risk getting run over then to have them on a sidewalk that looks to urban?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Originally posted by Seabishop
    who's complaining? - the family who moved to the suburbs "for the children" but think its better for the kids to risk getting run over then to have them on a sidewalk that looks to urban?

    Yup. A whole cross-section complains. I am fortunate in that the majority of the community also support sidewalks on collector roads, in new subdivisions, and in some already-developed areas, especially if there is commercial or if the sidewalk is needed to make some connection. They do not get supported in a neighborhood developed in the 1960's and 70's, despite it being next to three schools and a park.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    Wow. Total opposite here: people complain if you don't give them sidewalks. The sidewalks go in first in a new residential area, THEN the houses. What's this business about developers being allowed 5 years to complete sidewalks?? And constructing sidewalks bit by bit as a nearby house is built? What if it takes a while before houses are built either side of you - you have this little useless bit of concrete that takes you nowhere? A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Originally posted by JNL
    And constructing sidewalks bit by bit as a nearby house is built?
    We often do this because the final grades won't always be known until the plans for a house have been approved. We don't want to have to contort driveways, sidewalks, and structures to get them all to fit together nicely. Besides, then you don't have heavy construction machinery parking or driving over the sidewalks, cracking and shifting them. Rather than doing it as each house is built, the developer usually goes in once a year and does a whole stretch, including any "gaps."

  10. #10
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    Well that makes some sense. I guess I'm picturing some of the subdivisions I've seen where all the sections have been levelled off and house construction is underway.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
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    Some of the text in the original story seems to be complaining about the situation where mature street trees need to be removed from narrow streets to retrofit footpath paving. I think it is a legitmate complaint. Narrow streets with heavy lateral obbstructions (mature trees) could be safe shared pedestrian/vehicle zones. In Holland shared pedestrian vehicle zones are known as woonerf (I had a Dutch professor in Uni - 20 years ago) and have been successful over many years. The key seems to be urban design that slows traffic and gives priority topedestrians. I would hate to see a rare commodity like 50 to 80 year old street trees removed for footpath paving. This couldn't work on the collector roads some have referred to.

    You should tell some of your unreasonable footpath haters to move to Australia. When we retrofit footpath paving - the property owner with frontage has to meet half the cost.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    Ummm, why are renters bad people?

  13. #13
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    streets without are dangerous for peds. I jog through my nieghborhood in the evening and there are some street sections without sidewalks. I have almost been hit a few times. On these same streets mothers are pushing their babies. Everytime I run by one, I am woried a "crazy teenager" (who dont think they need to obey the speed limit) will hit them.

    The worst part is, the sections without sidewalks use to have them. Someone took them out! Whether this was legal or not at the time, I am not sure.

    So anyway. I think maybe if the street is not a main arterial then the residents should get a choice. if they dont want sidewalks, then they get speed humps every fifiteen feet.

    they have done the speed hump thing in some older res. areas of Atlanta. it is much cheaper than sidewalks, but slows down traffic enough to mitigate some of the danger to peds, babies and dogs.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  14. #14
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Originally posted by JNL
    Ummm, why are renters bad people?
    Because they're that type of people! You're obviously having trouble with the suburban mentality.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Originally posted by jordanb
    Because they're that type of people! You're obviously having trouble with the suburban mentality.
    It's amazing that people still think like this even in areas like Greater Boston and New York where run-of-the-mill single family homes are at least $300,000 and renting is also very expensive.

  16. #16

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    Luckily, all subdivisions out here automatically have sidewalks. The biggest debate is separated (with a planter strip) versus monolithic walks.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Of course sidewalks are everywhere in Philly. In Center City the arguments revolve around how many curb cuts are too many. In South Philly people complain about getting tickets for parking on them.

    Sidewalks are the law in New Jersey to the point of it being silly because you often see brand new concrete poured in places that few people will ever walk.

    Just don't put me in a room with "anti-sidewalk" people because at least one of us won't be going to work the next day.
    These are the same masters of logic who don't want a light rail stop in there town because people from Trenton and Camden will be able to get there and rob them (as if they couldn't already take the bus). I had to walk this guy through it once . . .

    "So some "bad" man from Camden is going to hop on the train and get off in your town in the middle of the day, walk around until he finds your house empty, break in, steal your television, walk back to the train carrying a TV, wait twenty minutes while sitting next to a television set on the platform in the middle of town, not look the least bit suspicious, then catch the train back to Camden?

    " . . . or is he going to time it so well that he'll just be able to dash out your front door and run to the station just in time to get inside the train before the doors close?"

    i blame it on television. where else would people get these ideas?
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Originally posted by jresta
    Sidewalks are the law in New Jersey to the point of it being silly because you often see brand new concrete poured in places that few people will ever walk.
    They need the extra space to bury all of the bodies.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Originally posted by Michael Stumpf
    They need the extra space to bury all of the bodies.

    ahhh the Soprano's.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    WTF

    WOW... I just do not understand some people. Part of Planning is looking after the safety, heath, and welfare of its residents. I am sure that the first time that some one walks to there neighbors house and gets clipped by a car, BOOM, every one will be mad that they did not put in sidewalks right from the start.

    At first I thought crazy people lived in CA, now I realize that FL has there share too. But then again, our crazy people become City Council people.
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

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