|Photo: Chad Weckler
Any checklist designed to rate a city's walkability usually begins with assessing walking paths and sidewalks. Do they exist? Do they stop and start? Are they broken or cracked? By this measure of walkability, Hudson doesn't score very high. There are places where there are no sidewalks. There are places where sidewalks stop and start. But mostly, there are cracked and broken sidewalks, and, perhaps unique to Hudson, there are places where the sidewalk in front of one building is dramatically higher than the sidewalk in front of the next building. Gossips did a study of the latter phenomenon in April 2012, and the situation has not improved since.
Yesterday, during the debate between the mayoral candidates on WGXC, one of the questions submitted by a listener asked if either of the candidates would address the problem of sidewalks in his or her first 100 days in office.
Mayor William Hallenbeck responded by saying he'd been addressing the issue of sidewalks since he became mayor in 2012. He spoke of individual property owners fixing their sidewalks, citing in particular the "beautiful new sidewalks" at TSL. He also spoke of how he had "changed the culture" of the code enforcement office.
|Photo: Mark Orton
In his rebuttal, the mayor said that he didn't see why the City should try to fix sidewalks when it's the individual property owners' responsibility.
The pictures that accompany this post, which show some examples of the extreme (and extremely treacherous for pedestrians) height variation between new sidewalk and older sidewalk, provide evidence of why offloading the responsibility for public sidewalks to individual property owners, which may be as unique to Hudson as the weighted vote, isn't working very well.
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