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Friday, February 3, 2023
ArlingtonOpinionLetter: Sidewalks are not a safety panacea

Letter: Sidewalks are not a safety panacea

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Editor: I read with interest your recent coverage of the sidewalk controversy that has erupted in Vienna.

While some may feel sidewalks are a “no brainer,” anecdotal evidence suggests that many pedestrians in Northern Virginia will ignore sidewalks, even when available.

They prefer to walk in the street, sometimes side-by-side, endangering themselves and cars that must try to avoid them.

This can be especially difficult when there are cars parked on the road. Politely pointing out that there is a sidewalk right next to the road is useless.


It’s one thing to have sidewalks. It is quite another for them to actually be used. Paying for sidewalks is expensive and constructing them can be both time-consuming and disruptive.

I am not “anti-sidewalk” by any means. I will, however, think twice before supporting any future sidewalk projects. They’re a lot of money for a very low return on investment. People seem to walk where they want to walk anyway.

Maybe the way to ensure that sidewalks are used is to issue tickets for people who walk in the street where a sidewalk sits nearby.

Larry Allen

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