Local residents on a residential street ( Louise de Colignylaan) in a neighborhood in Naarden, the Netherlands took pedestrian safety into their own hands when traffic was channeled through their neighborhood while a nearby major highway nearby was under repair. Residents painted their own unofficial crosswalk on their street. This action angered local government officials because of the cost in removing the painted crosswalk. But what about the issue of pedestrian safety? Is this going to be a new wave of pedestrian action beyond Naarden? Will this start happening in Charlottesville? Will neighborhoods start putting in their own speed bumps, too?
I am not advocating that residents start acting independent of the city in maintaining our pedestrian infrastsructure, but I urge our Charlottesville city staff to be proactive in providing pedestrian safety signage or other safety measures - permanently or temporarily - as unsafe pedestrian circumstances arise. I admit that I have contemplated mixing some QUIKRETE cement patching material to fill holes and large cracks in the sidewalks of Charlottesville (but I haven't actually done this). Maybe Charlottesville can start an "Adopt a Sidewalk" program and provide willing citizens training, approved patching materials and access to tools to fix some of these safety issues on their own. I am sure there are legal implications about letting citizens do infrastructure repair, but with so many tripping hazards on our sidewalks and crosswalks maybe this is something worth considering. Maybe Charlottesville can be a leader in channeling citizen action into safer pedestrian ways. I am happy to sign up for duty.
If you want to see the online story or view the news video (both in Dutch) , they are available through de Telegraaf - online.