Walking somewhere shouldn’t be life threatening

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Walk it, audit it

A few weeks ago, I received a message from a MyWHaT reader drawing attention to part of the community often forgotten about.

Here’s an issue I’ve been noticing for a while now. I think it really needs some attention and thought maybe you could shed some light on this problem area: Lafranier Road. Every time I drive on it […] I see someone walking or attempting to ride a bike between South Airport and the neighborhoods on top of the hill. The narrow road is in terrible shape and has no shoulders, and the unpaved shoulders are very sandy and rough. The people in those lower-income neighborhoods clearly are struggling for transportation options, and it appears that many have no choice but to walk or bike. The improvement needed is probably less than a mile– just about the distance to the brand-spankin’ new beautiful County building. 

What can we do to get this on the upcoming Project List at the County?

Go where? Bottom of Lafranier.

Indeed. What can be done?

Currently, Lefranier Road is not on the County Road Commission‘s project list, but discussions have taken place about minor improvements focused on the road surface and moving cars. There has been a little discussion about making it a complete street that connects the residents to the services, businesses, and neighbors in this corridor by other means than cars, but so far it hasn’t been made a priority.

As briefly mentioned yesterday, today at 11am there is a walking audit of the corridor called together under the auspices of the Connected Communities | Complete Streets network of the Grand Vision. No matter when the Road Commission aims on improving the corridor, today’s walking audit will provide another level of information and may help shift priorities to make it a complete project that serves more people. As the message states, the road itself is in terrible shape. If the county plans to improve it, they need to take a complete approach.

We’ve all seen the scene out there and along Lefranier and South Airport. Many of us probably echo the sentiments sent in from another reader who couldn’t make today’s walking audit, but wanted to share with me her observation:

There are times I walk down LaFranier, or Garfield, or the other side of South Airport and I just get so fucking mad watching people walk on barely existent paths on the side of the road, or, in the winter, walking or biking in the road because the (goat) paths are covered in snow.  Seriously mad.  Last winter, I saw an old man with a cane in the middle of the road because there was no sidewalk and the snow was too high.

People have places to be…Lefranier, Garfield, South Airport…are reminders that we need to design for people to be there.

Filed under #DangerousbyDesign

NOTE: The walking audit of Lafranier Road is from 11am to 12pm. If you’d like to participate  the group is meeting in the parking lot of the County Office Building (2650 Lafranier) just before 11am. If you can’t make it, use the following walking audit checklist to conduct your own audit sometime. If you send your observations to me, I promise to get them into the right hands. 

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Reminder: Before commenting, please read the comments policy. If you feel you need to rant against the world while raising enumerable tangential issues to personally attack individuals or organizations, consider creating your own blog and tracking back to MyWHaT. If it is of value, you will attract readers. Or, send me a message with all the rants you wish; I’m a connoisseur of ranting. Otherwise, please contribute to a healthy, friendly discussion in the comments section below.

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