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October 12, 2009


In some parts of Boulevard, there is no logical way to explain the crazy-quilt of sidewalk vs. no-sidewalk spaces.

Try walking east along Nantahala, starting at Hiawassee (just down from White Tiger). The sidewalks on both sides of the street start and stop repeatedly. Finally, after a last gasp on the south side just after Nacoochee, the sidewalks quit.

The city is filling in some no-sidewalk areas. The problem is, they apparently make their choices by throwing darts at a map.

The prime example: A brand new stretch of sidewalk on the east side of Hiawassee, beginning at Chatooga and running towards New Street.

This isn't exactly a pedestrian mecca: Hiawassee dead-ends at this point into the railroad tracks, and Chatooga is a winding little stub of a street that goes absolutely nowhere. I'm pretty sure that for the cost of that strip of useless pavement, the city could have paved both ends of that crosswalk at Prince and Barber.

Maybe this bugs me because I spent ten years in San Francisco. You walk in the street there, you die -- very simple, very easy. Folks in Athens just seem to assume that you're supposed to walk in the street. Unfortunately, I suspect that some of them meet up with moving cars.

There's an ordinance that new developments have to build sidewalks on their property if there aren't any, which explains some discontinuities. A good example is at Oglethorpe and Hawthorne. The new fire station and the old fire station both built new sidewalks, while the houses in between don't have any. It seems like the city is coming back and filling them in some places.

Ultimately it's a good program though, even if there are gaps for awhile.

The sidewalk on the north side of Prince abruptly ends in the middle of the block around Boulevard Heights, making foot travel hazardous for folks living on Sylvia Circle, Winfield Chase Apts., and points westward.

Several of our streets are flooded over in Oconee Heights because no one will clean out the conduit under the driveways.

My street alone (McLeroy) has three places with several inches of standing water. Our storm water issues are not being addressed.

It has been this way for years.

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