Today I’m starting a new project on this blog, and that’s collecting examples of what I’m calling “sidewalk infelicities.”
Crumbling sidewalks. Obstructed sidewalks. Unconnected, interrupted or otherwise incomplete sidewalks. Excessively narrow sidewalks. Unsafe sidewalks. Disrespected sidewalks. All of these are examples of what I consider “infelicities.”
The more general way of putting this is: Sidewalks should be continuous, well defined, unobstructed, safe and efficient in giving pedestrians access to places*—and anything that violates these criteria is an infelicity.This is just the first batch of infelicities. More—many more, unfortunately—could follow, including some right outside my front door.
If you know of any sidewalk infelicities in Athens, let me know. Send me a photo and a description of the location.
Exhibit 1: Northwest corner of Prince Ave. and Barber St.
Why isn’t this paved up to the crosswalk?
* * *
Exhibit 2: Southwest corner of Prince Ave. and Barber St.
Is the thinking that grass is more pleasant for pedestrians to stand on while they wait to cross the street?
* * *Exhibit 3: Southwest corner of Prince Ave. and Finley St.
Even though this corner and Finley is actively used by pedestrians and is practically downtown, the West side of this block of Finley—from Prince Ave. to Meigs St.—lacks a sidewalk—and given where the street light pole and utility box are located—no one’s thinking about making room for a sidewalk.
* * *Exhibit 4: Southwest corner of Meigs St. and Finley St.
Here, where a sidewalk resumes on the West side of Finley for a little while, it starts off already crowded with obstructions.
* * *Exhibit 5: Northwest corner of Hancock Ave. and Finley St.
Right where you’d want to put a paved corner for pedestrians, two utility poles have staked their claim.
* * *Exhibit 6: Southwest corner of Meigs St. and Newton Ave.
Why isn’t there a sidewalk here?
* * *Exhibit 7: Northeast corner of Meigs St. and Pope St.
A good start, maybe?
___ ___ ___*Adapted from “Criteria for Good Sidewalks,” in The Poetics of Cities: Designing Neighborhoods that Work by Mike Greenberg. 1995. Ohio State University Press.