Most towns have them, and at one time most residents insisted on them.
But, maybe that was before people stopped walking to and from place to place, and instead get in their cars to drive 3 blocks to the grocery store. Sidewalks were considered a necessity in early day America since walking in the streets was a muddy, dusty, and hazardous exercise.
So, sidewalks became a demanded necessity, and city leaders heeded the call to offer pedestrians walkways that provided shelter and safety.
Alas, that was then, and this is now.
It is interesting that we continue to demand sidewalks in downtown areas. We want paved, and preferably wide, avenues to get from one store or office to another. But that same accommodation isn’t required in our residential areas.
Apparently it is okay for kids, adult and animals to make their way from one house to another or from school to home by walking in the street. Why keep them safe and out of traffic when we can send them to the neighbors admonishing them to ‘stay out of the street’.
A few years back city leaders in our progressive community foolishly decided residential sidewalks would be a nice addition, offering safe passage to children from the public schools to the public library. Great idea, and a wonderful enhancement to our already lovely town.
But oh, they had not anticipated the lack of enthusiasm their proposal would generate. In fact, hostile property owners raised their collective voices insisting that they didn’t want those nasty sidewalks gracing their yards.
No sirree, no sidewalks in front of my house.
That would mean people would be in my yard, and possibly throwing trash and debris around as they walked by. No, let’s keep them in the streets. Far safer for homeowners. And if a few kids get hurt or the occasional walker trips and falls, the city is responsible.
I do hear those concerns, and what it tells me is the demand for sidewalks just isn’t a priority anymore. The days when we strolled down the avenues, stopped and chatted with our neighbors, shared news and caught up with the happenings around town are long gone and deemed unnecessary.
No one sits outside on their front porches, swatting at flies and mosquitoes, greeting folks, and sweltering in the hot, humid air. We have wised up. Now we sit inside our air-conditioned homes, watching a game on TV and catching up with our neighbors on Facebook.
Gosh, now that I think about it, sidewalks are still around, they just aren’t made of concrete any more. They are made of airways. And truth be told, they connect us in the same ways those wonderful sidewalks did years ago, just in a cooler, dryer, and more isolated way.