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The Way I See It!

I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.

No Sidewalk and Weather: Factor In Boys Death

Cudahy, Safety, Sidewalk

Wednesday, January 30, 2008 --- After child killed while walking in road, vote on building sidewalks pushed through.

 

Yesterday, a child was killed and three other kids seriously injured while walking in the road, since there were no sidewalks, when a car lost control and crashed into the children on Whitnall Ave just south of Layton Ave.  Police stated that weather may have contributed to the accident, but neither alcohol nor drugs were a factor.  Now the Common Council, in a 4-1 vote, plans to have a sidewalk built on Whitnall Ave from Layton Ave to Nicholson Ave.

 

Facing a few dozen angry parents demanding sidewalks in the wake of two serious accidents and a death involving children in Cudahy on Whitnall Ave, some council members advocated to build a sidewalk on Whitnall Ave from Layton Ave to Nicholson Ave.  Only one side of the street needs the sidewalk to make Whitnall Ave safe for pedestrians. 

 

The Mayor said the county should chip in some of the cost because of the property taxes it collects from city residents.  He vowed that safety is a top priority and the funds for this project will be found.

 

On Wednesday, three law enforcement agencies announced that putting a sidewalk in would make it safer, but people will still walk and ride in the street, but most would use the sidewalk.

 

One citizen spoke up and said, they didn’t have a choice when new roads were put in, the city just told them sidewalks, curbs, gutters and the road would be put in concrete instead of cheaper black top and he had to pay.  “Why should business get special treatment?” he asked.

 

At the time the new road was put in, the current Mayor and Common Council did not want to anger the businesses in the affected areas any more than they already were in paying for the reconstruction of the road.  It is too bad the city fell to the pressure of "How will it help me?" instead of erring on the side of caution.  Had the City been strong, this child would be here today.  Instead, look out for the lawsuit that will follow.  It is good that they can right a wrong, but it doesn’t bring a life back.

 

 

 

     That caught your attention didn’t it?  Let us be proactive and not wait to read a headline like that!  We are lucky it was not real and has not happen yet.  Our officials have been made aware of this dangerous and deadly problem.  Yet no action has been taken.  Why???????? 

Sidewalks are a major infrastructure necessity.  Sidewalks represent a major investment by the citizens of Cudahy and are an important part of a balanced transportation system.  Used by all facets of a diverse pedestrian population that ranges from young to old, physically fit to challenged, they connect our homes, neighborhoods, parks, recreational facilities, schools, churches, and businesses.  They provide pathways for our elderly and bikeways for our youth.  If one would watch some elderly with power chairs use them, and with the population aging, more people will.  A safe and aesthetic sidewalk space promotes neighborhood interaction and enhances property values.  They promote public safety.

 

Responsibility for constructing and maintaining sidewalk space is shared by property owners and the City.  The city needs to put a pedestrian-friendly environment with a sidewalk on Whitnall Ave from Layton Ave to Nicholson Ave.  Part of Whitnall just next to Nicholson already has a sidewalk, just the section by the resident housing (Carpenter Ave).  Funny how homeowners have them, but it just stops there.  This is a prime example of commercial interest in front of public safety.  Someone should check to see if the state or federal government offers any type of grant to improve public safety.  Maybe our friends from Wal-Mart would offer as a goodwill jester to pay for part of this community safety enhancement if someone asked.  

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/TA/ProgMgt/Grants/Safe_Routes.htm

 

I am a parent who has lost a child and I would never want anyone to experience it.  This situation does not have to play out with just kids.  Many adults walk that path.  Again, this situation doesn’t have to play out at all if we act on it NOW!

 

Back in September, I emailed the Aldermen, the Mayor, Engineering Department, and Street Department on how I can proceed in having a sidewalk considered for Whitnall Ave. 

 

Only my Alderman, Mark Otto, responded.  The rest ignored my request.  And people wonder why I have become cynical and pessimistic with regards to the government.  The slow pace to which they are acting does not inspire confidence that effective and timely action will be taken to address the problem.  They have spent a lot of effort into maintaining status quo.  Is this a stalling tactic rather than a strategy to resolve the issue?  In this case, silence is not golden.  Ask yourself this question, “Do you feel your government hears you and represents you?”  I don’t!

I fear we are squeaking like little lost mice in the dark ...

 

Here are my ignored emails - 

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What steps do I need to take to make Whitnall Ave from Layton Ave to Nicholson Ave a pedestrian-friendly environment with a sidewalk?  Many people walk that area, some of those work and shop the Pick N’ Save just across the street off Layton.  Many kids walk and ride their bikes in the road, which is dangerous.  Those that walk the road especially in the winter are at risk of personal injury.  If you drive by it you will see that a tail has been made in the grass.  The South side of the road would most likely would be the better side.  The sidewalk would link up to the sidewalks on Layton by Venus Ford and sidewalks on Nicholson.  With Cudahy, a dynamic city that's moving forward now is the time to make change.  It’s the right thing to do, to improve safety and become pedestrian-friendly.

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I understand that when they repaved Whitnall Ave, the powers that be, made the decision not to put sidewalks in because the businesses along the new road would argue that it doesn’t benefit them, but winds of change need to blow through.  Everything over time changes, it was a mistake then not to force the issue.  Safety of pedestrians must not be over shadowed because the few companies don’t like it.  I don’t think Venus Ford gets many walk ups from the sidewalk on Layton Ave, but they are there.  Safety trumps having to like something, I am sure places don’t like to do the things that OSHA tells them to do.  They may have to clear the snow; the same can be said for every homeowner. 

 

Having the negative publicity of holding back a pedestrian-friendly environment because “How does it help me?” would not be a good thing especially if the business that balks at improving safety finds it way into the media.  Someone should talk to the businesses to find out how they feel.  Maybe a press release in a local paper or web site may help the cause.  On the flip side, besides the cost, putting sidewalks in will not have a negative impact on them.  In fact, some people may even walk up safely to look at the cars or get work done.  True they would never help Copart Salvage Auto Auctions except for the fact of Copart trying to be a good neighbor.  It benefits them in being pro safety and pro for the surrounding community.

 

Just because years ago people didn’t have fore thought to put them in doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look at doing so now.  Times change and so do circumstances for the good of safety let us put it in.  I am sure the companies don’t want to stand in the way of safety do they?

 

As far as payment, I don’t know.  I have no idea.  How does the city put sidewalks in anywhere else?  Cudahy is spending a lot of money in the downtown area, I am sure something can be worked out for safety.  Don’t you?  Some say you can put a price on safety, but can you put a price on saving lives?

 

I still have not found out what needs to be done and what steps do I or someone, or the powers that be, need to take to make Whitnall Ave from Layton Ave to Nicholson Ave a pedestrian-friendly environment with a sidewalk?  Does this illustrate a pattern of not doing anything about anything?  Not even responding to my request shows an uncaring and unwilling side of our government.  Inaction is not only irresponsible, I believe it is downright dangerous!

  

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