Jim Smeeding and his wife often walk their dogs down Brookside Drive in the morning. When the sidewalk ends, they step out into the mud or risk crossing the street where the sidewalk resumes.

“Brookside is an interesting place in the morning,” Smeeding said. “You’ve got folks dropping kids off at school. You’ve got people driving fast. There are two stop signs at Tremont, and people roll on through them.”

He asks fellow pedestrians, “Doesn’t it bother you?”

Smeeding has lived in Dallas for more than 20 years. He moved to his home on Victor Street last year. He’s passionate about using the 311 system and has had success with public works projects by contacting his City Council member’s office. That’s who he called when he noticed a gap in the alley pavement behind his lot.

“It took me three years, but darn it, they paved the whole area,” Smeeding said. “My neighbors are scratching their heads saying, ‘How do you do it?’ You have to stay on it. That’s why we pay taxes.”

Smeeding garnered support from neighbors on his walks by asking if they’d be willing to sign petitions or send emails. He contacted the Department of Public Works and discovered other neighbors had complained about the street for years.

“Someone else had put in a petition, and I said, ‘Nah, we can do better than that,'” Smeeding said.

He’d like continuous sidewalks to be installed along Brookside, as well as crosswalks, speed bumps and additional signage.

“We’re trying to make Lakewood and its neighborhoods more friendly,” Smeeding said. “It’s something we all ought to be thinking about. It’s why people can walk and ride their bikes here. It’s a way to encourage people to live healthier lifestyles.”

Public Works officials told Smeeding they would work on plans and share them with neighbors in about three weeks. Smeeding said he hopes work can begin a few months after that.

“Will it be everything we want, probably not,” Smeeding said. “Sometimes these are little incremental wins. We don’t need a $200,000 public works project. It’s not about waiting years for the next bond. With a little bit of local activism, sooner or later you might get something done.”

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