Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday: Sidewalks, Street Lighting, and Homeowners

I was at a neighborhood meeting this morning. Details of the Ash Street project are changing, or getting more definite. There's talk about putting new sidewalks on both sides of Ash, from the Lake Wobegon Trail down to 12th Street.

At least a hundred feet of the west sidewalk would go through the driveways and parking lot of John Weis Ford, and cross two driveways for Coborns. I can see the point of folks who would rather not have a sidewalk there. Playing dodge ball with cars wouldn't be fun.

A pretty good idea seems to be to have a sidewalk on the west side of Ash running north from the Lake Wobegon Trail, a crosswalk at the trail, and a sidewalk on the east side of Ash from there, south to 12th Street. Of course, it's easy for me to like the idea: I live on the east side.

Just the same, using the existing sidewalk on the west side, north of Lake Wobegon Trail, and putting a new sidewalk on the east side from the trail to 12th makes sense.
  • For starters, it should be less expensive than putting new sidewalks on both sides.
  • I'm not convinced that a well-marked crosswalk would be more dangerous than a sidewalk running through an active auto shop's lot.
  • Coborns' driveways wouldn't be a picnic to cross, either.
There's the matter of who pays for the sidewalks, too. I've heard and read that they're needed so that Sauk Centre has pedestrian access to Wal-Mart, and the retail area that's planned south of the fairgrounds, That's reasonable, but if that's so I wonder if individual homeowners should be assessed for the sidewalk.

I'm hardly neutral on this: It's likely enough that I'll be one of the homeowners.

Three thoughts, and I'm done for now.
  • Talking over a project like this is a good thing, bringing up good ideas and exposing not-so-good ones.
  • Projects get much more efficient, when people (and organizations) are spending their own money.
  • Holding public office isn't fun - No matter what you do, someone's going to complain.

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