County plans to improve and build more sidewalks
By Ki-Jana King
Responding to a deluge of complaints from residents, the Leon County Public Works Department will soon begin a sidewalk improvement project in several communities.
Much of the complaints come from people living in communities where dodging on-coming traffic is a daily occurrence for pedestrians on foot or for those who rely on bikes as a means of transportation.
The project will cost county government $1.47 million, said Charles Wu, director of engineering services for LCPWD. The program, which will be ongoing during the next five years, includes at least 30 miles of sidewalks, trails and greenways.
“Our goal is to enhance the safety of citizens and improve more sidewalks because they are definitely needed,” Wu said.
However, Tallahassee’s Southside isn’t included in the project. County Commissioner Bill Proctor has been calling for renovation or installation of sidewalks on the Southside for more than a year, but Wu said some of those areas aren’t in the county’s jurisdiction.
The situation leaves many like Southside resident Kori Teemer frustrated. Every day she steps out of her house on Putnam Drive to walk to the bus stop on her way to work, she does so knowing that the 400-yard walk isn’t the safest.
After about 200 feet of walking on a sidewalk, the rest of her walk is on a grassy path. She wishes she had a complete sidewalk, especially on rainy days when she has to trek through mud on the way to the bus stop.
“Once I walk out of my apartment complex, at a certain point the sidewalk just stops,” she said. “I either have to walk in the grass or in the road to avoid mud puddles in the grass if it’s raining.”
Seemingly empathetic to the sidewalk issue for city residents, Wu suggested that anyone uncertain whether they’re city or county residents research the location of their residence. Those in the county could use its website (leoncountyfl.gov) to request a sidewalk repair or to have one installed, he said.
Jane Riggins, a city resident, said she simply wants sidewalks so that her neighborhood would be safer for children to play. She wasn’t too sure that change will come soon, though.
“It never seems to be a subject that matters to the government,” Riggins said. “But we’ll see what happens”