Frequently Asked Questions
Q: The roads look so nice and country, if the town puts in sidewalks on the main roads, will the character of the area change?
A: A road that is walkable is reminiscent of country life, hearkening to a time when vehicle density was less, population density was less, vehicle speed was more easily regulated and drivers where not distracted by texting. As those factors have changed in towns and villages around the country, municipalities have adopted sidewalks as a way to reinvigorate pedestrian traffic and recapture the neighborly feel of country and small town life. While many roads and neighborhoods in Three Village have absolutely no need for sidewalks, others, especially those with high commuter or student traffic, require attention in order to not only ensure pedestrian safety, but to recapture some of the core traits of country life--neighborly feel, a sense of connection, and accessibility to town amenities by walking. Our goal is to work with village residents to identify high need roadways so that we can not only ensure safety of those most at risk of injury, but to ensure the vibrancy of the local community. Overwhelming evidence points to the value sidewalks provide in maintaining a sense of community and the vibrancy of local business, even as it also points to the need for a targeted and strategic approach to planning for sidewalks. We do not endorse expansive and uncontrolled development of pedestrian walkways. We do advocate strongly for smart, community engaged planning for safe and attractive sidewalks. Done right, sidewalks will enhance the feel of the area, lending to that small town, country life feel. As residents of the Three Villages ourselves, we are committed to ensuring they are done right, with village residents in mind." The character of the area is an important aspect in every sidewalk design and construction. Sidewalks for Safety is convinced we can build sidewalks the add to the character of the area.
Q: What about street lighting?
A: Sidewalks for Safety is working to get more sidewalks on roads where the number and speed of cars make it a dangerous to walk. We are not working to get more streetlights. We do not want more streetlights. Sidewalks and streetlights are two separate issues and the need for one does not imply a need for the other. In fact, the building of sidewalks might instead eliminate the need for lights on many streets, since the sidewalks make the roads safe enough for late night walkers.
Q: Who will be responsible for clearing the snow on the sidewalks? Will the home/business owner be responsible?
A: Sidewalks are built on public, not private property. In general, it's the governing municipality that is responsible for the repair, maintenance, and liability associated with the walkways, not the adjacent property owners. Snow removal on sidewalks should be treated just like snow removal on the part of the road where cars travel. The responsibility to clear the snow from the street should always include a responsibility to clear the sidewalks, since sidewalks should be considered a part of the public road.
Sidewalks for Safety is working to get the town to assume this responsibility.
It is not unusual for a town to assume these responsibilities: http://walkbikecny.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/SSM_ch3_Municipal_Codes.pdf
Q: Will a lot of trees have to be cut down?
A: We really love trees and sidewalks can be curved to avoid trees. Sidewalks can be made into something more like a trail, that winds through trees. In fact, protecting a tree is one of the few reasons for a sidewalk to deviate from a direct route. We would like to see more trees!
Q: If we build sidewalks, will people walk?
A: Walking is gaining popularity across the US for both transportation and recreation because it improves health, fosters community and saves money. People love walkable neighborhoods; so much so that they are willing to pay a premium to live in one. Research published in 2012 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in 2013 by the National Center for Safe Routes to School shows that a growing number of people are walking, and that many are children and adults age 65 and older. People just need safe, convenient and pleasant places near their homes, schools and workplaces to make walking routine, says the CDC study. The CDC’s most recent research shows the number of Americans who take a walk at least once a week rose from 56 percent in 2005 to 62 percent in 2010 — which represents almost 20 million more people on their feet.
Q: Don't Americans prefer to drive?
A: Perhaps, or maybe they’re driving so much because there are no sidewalks! Federal data on vehicle miles traveled and a recent national study show a decline in driving and car ownership during the 2000s in an overwhelming majority of metro areas. At the same time, the number of people commuting by bicycle and transit increased. A survey by the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership found that 55 percent of Americans would prefer to walk more and drive less.