It is October, the month for which Dallasites wait all summer. Yes, meteorologists are still predicting some highs in the 90s, but we can enjoy temperatures in the 70s and 80s in the late afternoons and evenings, and the mornings are downright chilly in the 60s.
So we step out of our air-conditioned fortresses to bask in the autumn weather … and run into tree branches. And bulky trash. And other obstacles that deter pedestrians from not only the streets but also the sidewalks that were built for them.
Our October magazine story, “Dreams and reality: Lakewood Shopping Center,” features observations from several neighbors about the challenges or walking and cycling to, from, in and around the Lakewood area’s retail hub. One of those neighbors, Junius Heights resident Matt Wood, believes he has one of the most walkable addresses in Dallas; still, we could do better, and he believes that starts with us.
Matt Wood’s four rules for neighborly sidewalks
- Property owners, sidewalks are yours. A good power-spray would do wonders. If you have a sidewalk that is skewed or tends to have soil run off from your yard in heavy rain, please take a minute when it dries to buy a little curbing to keep your dirt in your yard, then clean off your sidewalk. It keeps your walk from becoming a muddy, unusable mess after heavy rain. You may not use your sidewalk, but many of your neighbors do — and you probably like some of your neighbors.
- If your trees/bushes/shrubs/monkey grass is growing in a way that blocks the sidewalk, please trim it. And when cutting trees that overhang the sidewalk, please remember that not all pedestrians are your height. Some of us are more than 6-feet tall. (Editor’s note: Matt Wood falls into this category.) One of us may one day walk under your tree with his glasses on his head, and your low hanging branch may snag those glasses right off his head and onto the concrete where his lens may shatter. It could happen …
- You remember that “Drive Friendly, Texas” campaign? I think we need that for sidewalks. People park their cars in the driveway across the sidewalks, and some poor mom who is braving the already uneven sidewalks with a kid in her stroller is going to have to walk around your car with that baby and stroller — into traffic — and you don’t want that, do you?
- Finally, no bulk trash on the sidewalk! Bulk trash week is to sidewalk users what marathon season is to much of East Dallas — a hassle to get around. Only bulk trash is a week-long event that happens every single month.
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