We all survived the walk down Woodlawn Road in mid-afternoon. We even managed to cross Woodlawn in safety after waiting several minutes for a gap in traffic. But ... there was an incident. More later.
Council members Anthony Foxx, Michael Barnes, Susan Burgess, Patsy Kinsey and Nancy Carter (all but Kinsey members of the Transportation Committee) went for a tour by the city's DOT staff to show some pedestrian issues. It's part of the Pedestrian Plan, which CDOT planners are drafting and hope to give to council for approval in the next few months.
A big issue is uncomfortable, uninviting back-of-curb sidewalks along major thoroughfares. So we all walked about a quarter mile up Woodlawn.
Here's a report on the "incident": Shortly after we start, near Preston Townhomes at Woodlawn and Scaleybark, a black Jeep Cherokee zips past (speed limit is 35 mph, but most drivers appear to be ignoring that) and someone inside chunks a drink cup out the window. It hits Foxx and splashes Kinsey. No harm done, though it was rattling.
Only Barnes, Kinsey and CDOT planner Dan Gallagher dashed across Woodlawn at Bayberry Drive in order to see the much nicer sidewalk built at the townhouse-style Oak Leaf development across the street. The rest of us had to wait to cross until a couple of school buses set a pick for us, essentially stopping the oncoming traffic so we could safely get to the other side.
The point CDOT was making was that developments such as Oak Leaf, which needed a rezoning, don't get that OK unless they fix the bad, back-of-curb sidewalks. Plus, many of the newer zoning categories require better sidewalks. But so-called "by-right" development -- in which the land already carries the zoning needed for the development -- doesn't have to do anything about sidewalks.
CDOT is offering for consideration the idea of changing local ordinances, so developments such as Preston Flats and Preston Townhomes would have to update bad sidewalks, the way Oak Leaf did. After all, as CDOT pedestrian advocate Vivian Coleman pointed out, Preston Flats had to do significant grading of the site, for the construction. Pouring a new sidewalk would not have been onerous. As it is, though, any sidewalk improvement would come out of city coffers.
Want more pedestrian info? See the CDOT page of links to pedestrian organizations, ordinances, etc.