To the editor:
Currently, there is an active campaign against a much needed sidewalk on Polk Avenue. While this sidewalk may eliminate a handful of parking spots, though it is possible it won’t, it will provide a safe walking route to the local elementary school for many young children. The children in the neighborhood where this sidewalk is proposed are not bused to school, they must walk. The stretch of road currently has no sidewalk and cars parked there do not leave space for children to walk next to the park, but are instead forced to either walk in the street or cross at a tight bend where cars come speeding – especially at school pick up and drop off times. This several yards of proposed sidewalk will make a direct and safe walking route for these children.
The petition-writers say that a crosswalk would be a better option than a sidewalk, but this is false. First of all, the city has struggled to have full time crossing guards for all the necessary intersections in the neighborhood.
Last school year, parents were volunteering to help when possible, but this still often left intersections unguarded.
The neighbors who are upset about this are trying to act magnanimously, saying it’s about the little park on Polk Avenue. This park consists of a few benches and a trash can on an old house foundation and driveway surrounded by a small patch of trees.
In reality, these are some privileged neighbors who don’t want change, and have problems with the often lower income families that live in the development that will benefit most from this sidewalk. They are more worried about possibly having to look longer for a parking spot or walk a little farther than they are about the safety of pedestrians, especially children, in the neighborhood.
Let’s work on making our neighborhood safe and welcoming for all who live here. Give kids safe routes to school at the cost of a few measly parking spots.
-Sarah Fanning, Alexandria