Far Westside resident Jo Ellen Locke feels fortunate to have sidewalks in front of her residence. Some living in areas near her, however, are not as fortunate. And it has her concerned.
"I’ve almost hit people," she said, pointing out that people walking at night are not wearing light-colored clothing or carrying lights. "They are hard to see."
She pointed to the area west of Norton Road nearing the post office.
"There’s a gap where kids, and all of us for that matter, are walking on the sidewalk, then we’re out on the road," she said. "It’s not good for the kids who are walking to the elementary school, and even the high school students."
The apartment buildings in that particular area didn’t have to have sidewalks when they were built, Locke pointed out.
Her house, built in 1990, does have sidewalks. The Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) now has regulations that any housing subdivision that is developed must have walkways.
Another area that has come to Locke’s attention is Sullivant Avenue between Norton Road and Georgesville Road. According to her, the only section of sidewalk is in front of a few houses west of the traffic light at Murray Hill and Sullivant.
One of the major problems to getting sidewalks in those areas, Locke sees, is the boundaries. Sullivant Avenue is divided down the middle of the road between the city of Columbus and Prairie Township. Even on Norton Road, a jurisdictional map looks like a patchwork quilt.
Her friend Marie Freeman knows all about boundary issues.
"My backyard has three boundaries and two school districts," said Freeman, who lives in the Demorest-Clime road area.
From where she lives (between Demorest and Three-C Highway), one of the big concerns is people with disabilities whose main mode of transportation is a motorized wheel chair traveling along Clime Road, a two-lane, hilly road with no sidewalks.
"It’s an accident waiting to happen," Freeman said. "I fear someone is going to get killed."
She talked about the situation on Briggs Road where there were several accidents over the years involving pedestrians on a two-lane road without sidewalks.
"They finally got their sidewalks there," she said, echoing a sentiment that Locke mentioned. Both women noted that the sidewalks were put in after injuries and death on that stretch of road.
Neither wants to see that happening in their neighborhoods. They are planning to attend a meeting Feb. 19 at the new offices of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission on the need for sidewalks. This meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. at 111 Liberty St., Suite 100, in Columbus.
One meeting was held in late January. And this one will be similar, Freeman said.
"This meeting will be another chance for people to voice their concerns about where sidewalks are needed," Freeman said. "It’s very important for as many people to go as possible. The more who are represented the better chance we have of getting sidewalks."
The increased number of pedestrians will most likely continue to rise, since the price of gas hovers around the $3 mark.
"We have to do something," said Freeman.