Why are people so angry over having to put in sidewalks?

B'lieve

Cyburbian
Messages
209
Likes
0
Points
9
#21
Just to pile on, it really does depend on the neighborhood. In the Baltimore area, most blocks built before 1950, in suburbs and all but the smallest towns (especially main/commercial streets) as well as the City, have sidewalks on at least one side of the road, while later developments run the gamut. In Md I haven't actually heard about any big dustups over adding sidewalks, for either cost reasons or bigotry, but in Quarryville, PA (fairly compact, older small town) the borough (that's what PA calls actual small/medium towns, to distinguish from rural townships) has spent the last few years steadily adding sidewalks to streets that didn't have them, with a goal of having them on all streets, to big fuss. IIRC, the project was catalyzed by an ADA complaint from somebody, on top of intermittant resident requests to add sidewalks, but many residents balk at the costs being charged to the property owners. I think the charges are added to the property tax bill (the Lancaster County newspapers, the Intelligencer-New Era and Sunday News should still have articles in their 2011 archives) and property owners aren't happy paying for something many of them didn't ask for, and being expected to maintain them. The borough responded that the only alternative was to raise everyone's taxes to cover construction and maintenance costs--six of one, half a dozen of the other.
 

B'lieve

Cyburbian
Messages
209
Likes
0
Points
9
#22
In most MD neighborhoods I've been in that have sidewalks on some streets but not all, the sidewalks are usually on main/commercial streets, arterials, and larger residential streets where traffic is already heavier and/or faster to begin with, where shared space never existed or ceased to be safe/feasible decades ago, and pedestrians really are safer on the sidewalk than in the street. Shared space mostly occurs on side streets and in very small-town or rural areas where traffic is light and slow. (Or used to be light and slow).
 
Messages
6,671
Likes
1
Points
26
#23
I will share the sentiment that it depends on the neighborhood. I've worked in some jurisdictions that were quite walkable and had a cohesive community. In general those property owners and builders have been fine with putting in sidewalks. In areas where nobody walks anywhere, people are upset at the percieved taking of their property and the idea that someone might walk by their house.
 
Messages
62
Likes
0
Points
4
#24
I just came across this post, but reassure you that you're not alone. In my area, during my tenure, we have made three concerted runs at an ordinance to require sidewalks for all new construction, and the local building community has lobbied the elected officials every time, soundly beating the initiative. Same with infill. Right now, street width determines if you need a sidewalk - solution? Build ridiculously-wide streets! Actual statements along the lines of the following have been made:
  • Since the popularization of refrigerated air, people don't walk outdoors;
  • Sidewalks increase crime by bringing delinquents to and through your yard, tempting them;
  • People walk with strollers and bicycle in the street all the time - it works just fine;
  • If you don't like it, drive;
  • This will kill development, driving out the developers who have lived here their whole lives, and will dissuade others from coming in;
  • If I have to mow the grass (in the portion of their yard which is in public right-of-way), then I should get to prevent others from crossing it;
  • My home insurance rates will skyrocket;
  • It's too hot, nobody will use them;
  • In response to desire trails - they should just take the bus.
It's sad and unfortunate, and incredibly frustrating! I have read and heard about suits brought in areas because they did not provide adequate ADA accessibility, but hate that this approach might be the only way to get things done. One thing we did was to actually run the numbers - since the claims were made that these sidewalks in residential areas would make the prices of homes skyrocket - and our Engineering group was able to blow their claims out of the water by showing just how affordable they could be. But...still a no-go. Good luck to all encountering this issue!
 

btrage

Cyburbian
Messages
6,422
Likes
0
Points
25
#25
Anyone ever come across a residential alley that had sidewalk running along one side of it? If so, why would it be there?

I have an alley that has sidewalk along one side, about the length of 4 lots. I'm talking about a typical dirt alley in an older neighborhood, not one of those new urbany type alleys.
 
Messages
6,242
Likes
2
Points
26
#26
Anyone ever come across a residential alley that had sidewalk running along one side of it? If so, why would it be there?

I have an alley that has sidewalk along one side, about the length of 4 lots. I'm talking about a typical dirt alley in an older neighborhood, not one of those new urbany type alleys.
It may not really be a sidewalk. It may be left over from the days when trash was piled up in the alleys. If the homes are old enough (late 1940s or earlier) those neighborhoods generated additional trash through burning coal for heat. We have been born in a time when recycling and ecology were seen as good (post crying indian). I am willing to bet that earlier generations generated a lot more garbage than what our parents did. I can recall sorting out recyclables and taking them to U of M Dearborn as a kid.
 

btrage

Cyburbian
Messages
6,422
Likes
0
Points
25
#27
It may not really be a sidewalk. It may be left over from the days when trash was piled up in the alleys. If the homes are old enough (late 1940s or earlier) those neighborhoods generated additional trash through burning coal for heat. We have been born in a time when recycling and ecology were seen as good (post crying indian). I am willing to bet that earlier generations generated a lot more garbage than what our parents did. I can recall sorting out recyclables and taking them to U of M Dearborn as a kid.
Thanks. That was a thought that had occurred to me. It is indeed in an area of pre-WWII homes, so I'm willing to bet you are correct.
 
Messages
1
Likes
0
Points
0
#28
When it comes to new development and the sidewalks that may come with I think resident's concerns could be circulation. With the car being the dominant form of transportation in U.S right now people become very concerned when their right of way as a motorist is impeded. This becomes evident when a new development wants to add a sidewalk that could remove one or more lanes and cause traffic congestion slowing residents daily travels. Even if the added sidewalk doesn't remove a lane, it will encourage more people to walk. More people walking suggest the addition of traffic slowing and pedestrian safety features such as crosswalks, medians,stop lights, and lower speed limits; and motorist simply do not like to slow down. So what it really comes down to is that motorist do not want the possibility of sidewalks interfering with their daily driving/circulation.
 
M

mejiaufv

Guest
#29
Where I'm from, those opposed aren't so much against putting in a new sidewalk. Instead, it's their tax money they don't want spent. There are a lot of elderly people around my community and it seems that to them, if they managed to get along fine without them in the past that they aren't a good idea now. But car circulation has gone up dramatically and walking in the street just isn't as safe as it once was.
 
Messages
1,303
Likes
1
Points
23
#30
Not a lot of pushback on sidewalks in general here. However, we get pushback on new sidewalks when someone comes into an existing space and wants to put a new use in it. For some crazy reason, our code requires that folks doing these sorts of reuses have to bring things up to current code, including new sidewalks if they aren't already there. I can understand that concern- its usually a small business wanting to go into a cheap space, not some big new development. We are working on exempting them from this requirement so these small businesses have a place to go.
 
Messages
2,228
Likes
0
Points
18
#31
. . . I've had people threaten anything they could so they don't have to put in sidewalks. Why the aversion, and are your communities like this? . . .
Much of New York City already has sidewalks.

But homeowners in communities without sidewalks are generally very opposed to having them put in; this is due to increased personal expense, potential legal liability, and considerable personal upkeep (my bolding):
New York City law requires property owners to, at their own cost, install, construct, reconstruct, repave and repair the sidewalk adjacent to their properties, including the intersection quadrant and pedestrian ramps for corner properties, in accordance with DOT specifications. Section 7-210 of the NYC Administrative Code makes property owners potentially liable for personal injuries caused by their failure to maintain reasonably safe sidewalks. Property owners must keep their sidewalks clean and are also responsible for snow removal. Property owners are encouraged to perform repairs to their sidewalks before a condition becomes a defect which would give rise to a violation. Upon failure of a property owner to install, construct, repave, reconstruct or repair the sidewalk pursuant to a Notice of Violation issued by DOT after an inspection, DOT may perform the work or hire a contractor to perform the work and the Department of Finance (DOF) will bill the property owner pursuant to Section 19-152 of the NYC Administrative Code.
Full text:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/infrastructure/sidewalk-faq.shtml
 
Messages
900
Likes
0
Points
17
#32
Much of New York City already has sidewalks.

But homeowners in communities without sidewalks are generally very opposed to having them put in; this is due to increased personal expense, potential legal liability, and considerable personal upkeep (my bolding):Full text:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/infrastructure/sidewalk-faq.shtml
yeah, because there's nothing like walking by an abandoned building with an unmaintained Manhattan sidewalk in front of it (thanks to this rule), with frozen snow on it. Many a bone has been broken this way.

I think that's the issue. Mandating that everybody has to yield an easement for and/or finance to build outside one's lot line sidewalks is fine if the city takes them over and maintains them. If, as in NYC, it is wholly up to the owner, then there are often problems.
 
Messages
2,228
Likes
0
Points
18
#33
yeah, because there's nothing like walking by an abandoned building with an unmaintained Manhattan sidewalk in front of it (thanks to this rule), with frozen snow on it. Many a bone has been broken this way.

I think that's the issue. Mandating that everybody has to yield an easement for and/or finance to build outside one's lot line sidewalks is fine if the city takes them over and maintains them. If, as in NYC, it is wholly up to the owner, then there are often problems.
Cismontane, I'm on your side!

There's a plethora of problems, (not "issues"), with these ordinances. I'm just trying to be upbeat during the holiday season. You'll read plenty of morbid stuff from me if you stick around.:)
 
Messages
900
Likes
0
Points
17
#34
Cismontane, I'm on your side!

There's a plethora of problems, (not "issues"), with these ordinances. I'm just trying to be upbeat during the holiday season. You'll read plenty of morbid stuff from me if you stick around.:)
I make a point of calling 311 every time I encounter one of those, although, frankly, the last two years haven't been cold enough for this to really be a problem. My Manhattan favorite was 4 years back when a Soho landowner decided to leave the entirety of Sullivan Street in Soho between Duarte Square and that big empty lot bounded by Sullivan, Varick, Canal and Grand unmaintained for the entire winter. The entire block became one big ad hoc ice field. If you needed to walk into Soho from the 1 station at Varick and Canal you'd have to walk about 400 feet east to get around that block or take your chances with a cracked skull.. Eventually, DOT solved the problem by fencing off the sidewalk altogether, and I think the fence is still there. I guess the cost of an ugly chain link fence was cheaper than the cost of simply maintaining the sidewalk, although the fines must've been huge.
 

The One

Cyburbian
Messages
8,279
Likes
3
Points
28
#35
Hmmm

The threat of running over animals, adults and small children is a great reason to slow the hell down. :screw::macys::brofist:
 

Jazzman

Cyburbian
Messages
705
Likes
0
Points
16
#36
It seems no matter who or what is being constructed or renovated, contractors, owners, and everyone involved in a building project objects to sidewalks being built. It feels like despite all of our regulations regarding storm water runoff, fire codes, etc. sidewalks get the most backlash. I've had people build in a neighboring town because they didn't require sidewalks (the owners didn't realize fuel costs in the long run were a lot more), and I've had people threaten anything they could so they don't have to put in sidewalks. Why the aversion, and are your communities like this? We had one man at a public meeting even say, "We don't need sidewalks. People walk in the street."
A lack of desire for shoveling sidewalks in the winter.
 
Messages
179
Likes
0
Points
7
#38
Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't Sidewalks taxed as special assessments? That means putting in a sidewalk could be at behest of the people or just by the discretion of the city. Either way the resulting increased increase in property values will cause an increase property tax. It usually boils down to money.
 
Messages
1
Likes
0
Points
0
#39
So I have a different take on sidewalks. I recently had a back injury. It kept me sidelined for about 2 months. In that period of time I did a lot of research and talked to a lot of doctors that specialized in this area.

Back pain (mostly associated with herniated and bulging discs) is one of the most common medical complaints in hospitals. Also once you have a bulging or herniated disc, it might stop hurting, but it rarely goes away. Your spine is forever distorted. More US health care dollars are spent treating back and neck pain than almost any other condition. We spend about 86 billion a year. And its not just the money. Daily pain is, of course, unpleasant.

The incidence of back pain is skyrocketing. From what I have seen there are a few reasons. One is people have bad posture. The second is we are walking on way more concrete.
We didn't evolve to walk on concrete daily.

When my back was out my wife would joke I had the crappiest super power ever. When I walked I could tell how much a surface gave by seeing how much it felt like I was getting tasered with each step.

Wood and carpet were not to bad. Dirt felt ok. Grass gave it an extra cushion. Asphalt was not ideal but tolerable. Concrete was a nightmare. It doesn't give at all. Eventually I started avoided concrete like the plague. The reason it hurts is when you step on a surface that doesn't give it sends a shock all the way up your spine all the way up to your neck. Crazy but true according to the md's I talked to.

We didn't evolve to walk on concrete for long periods of time. We evolved to walk on earth.

As a country the more concrete sidewalks we lay down over the next 20 years the more people will experience back and neck pain. Obviously people are built differently. Some people could walk on concrete 5 hours a day and not experience problems. Other people will not be so lucky.

Instead of concrete sidewalks I would allow as an option for builders to have natural trails, gravel paths, dirt paths, asphalt. Anything as an alternative to concrete.
 
Messages
1
Likes
0
Points
0
#40
Too Expensive, Really?

I usually find that the same people that are complaining about how expensive sidewalks are are the same people that turn right around and complain that another car lane needs to be added. Those are free, right?
 
Top