At the August 8 th Weiser City Council meeting, the topic of the day was sidewalks.
Sidewalks occupied three items on the agenda. Sidewalks we have, sidewalks we want and the walkability of our sidewalks and town. The sidewalks we have was about a proposed program to assist homeowners in repairing and replacing the sidewalks adjacent to their homes. This would be accomplished by establishing a Local Improvement District (LID). The council voted to approve the establishment of such a district with more details to follow. The sidewalks we want come in the form of a grant that the city council has been working to get since 2007 which has finally come to fruition. The walkability of our sidewalks and town was a presentation by Southwest District Health with ideas on how to get more people traveling around town by foot rather than car.
All three of these items are good things, but they are things that will take time and money. Grant money, tax money and money out of the homeowner’s pockets. All three are out of the homeowners and taxpayer’s pockets but that is another discussion for another time.
The walkability discussion at the meeting really caught my attention. I walk my dog Prisco almost every day and we have a very walkable town, but it is not without challenges. One of the challenges I see every day is the challenge of visibility when crossing streets due to cars parked too close to intersections, alleys and parked on the green space between the sidewalk and the street. In certain areas it is so bad that you must walk into the street to see if cars are coming. City code allows this, so maybe it is time to change the code. Other obstacles while walking are overgrown bushes, trees, and debris on sidewalks. Vehicles parked in driveways that overhang onto the sidewalk also add to the challenge of walking in Weiser.
New, repaired and more sidewalks are nice, but not always the answer. Everything I just mentioned can be remedied at little to no cost to the city and homeowner. If the city and the homeowners continue to overlook the things that are making our town unwalkable, what makes you think things will change with new, repaired or more sidewalks?
Christina Marie Stanley