Abilene is a great city, with the exception of the lack of sidewalks. The city council should create stronger ordinances supporting the installation and reparation of sidewalks throughout the city.
Abilene City Council passed an ordinance in 2006, the City of Abilene Sidewalk Master Plan, requiring sidewalks to be installed on both sides of all new streets. Exceptions were limited to local streets in single-family residential areas, where lots are one acre or larger, and highways without frontal roads. On Thursday, the city council voted to require sidewalks in new developments.
However, the addition of sidewalks to newly established developments is not enough. The current sidewalks must be re-paved and more should be added throughout Abilene.
First off, better sidewalks mean more pedestrian traffic. As seen with the Lunsford Trail, easily accessible walking areas allow people from all around an area to come together as a community.
Despite its distance from their homes, families can still be seen piling out of vehicles to ride bikes along the trail, students will exercise with their friends and dog lovers take their little pups for a stroll.
Also, events like 5Ks, awareness walks, cycling competitions and more can be organized around these paved walkways.
The passing of a bill to create more sidewalks in Abilene would increase the economic growth of the city. More mobility around the city would allow for customers to walk from one location to the next, ridding the necessity of vehicles or other transportation.
Paved walkways connecting stores and neighborhoods would promote the traveling to and from stores more often, allowing a more easily accessible and enjoyable route to complete chores.
The existing sidewalks are uneven and often dangerous for a person to travel on. The decreased mobility has harmed not only the businesses of Abilene, but the people living within the city limits by restricting them to specific modes of transportation in order to reach a necessary destination.
Children walking to school would be able to stay off the roads, making their commute more safe than before.
In creating paved walkways throughout the city, cyclists would be able to avoid dangerous situations on the road. Bike lanes could be added to the roads, or perhaps they would be allowed on the sidewalks themselves.
While the monetary cost of paving sidewalks is a large sum, the community and economic benefit would outweigh the cost.