In September we hosted two Walk With Us events, one in Aksarben and one on North 78th Street by Fort. Both events brought awareness to mobility issues regarding sidewalk accessibility and street safety.
Aksarben was on our list because of the giant Verizon monopole installed in the middle of a sidewalk, with no forewarning or communication to the neighbors. The pole was installed without an ADA plan either which is inexcusable, yet somehow got through city processes anyway. A new sidewalk is finally poured but it took too long plus a significant portion of the homeowner’s yard was destroyed since it loops around the pole toward the house and not the street.
We invited Senator John Cavanaugh and City Councilor Danny Begley (and the Vision Zero Coordinator who declined) to our event and they gave us an update on their plan to prevent it from happening again. Their goal is to craft an ordinance requiring communication from Verizon to the property owner ahead of time. While this is a good step, we would like to ensure that a full ADA plan, including reasonable timeline, is also approved before construction begins. We’ll be following this issue as it moves forward. Feel free to email your City Councilor and ask them to add the ADA requirements to the proposed communication plan.
The latest with the City Council’s progress is covered here: https://www.ketv.com/article/conversation-can-happen-up-front-proposed-ordinance-seeks-to-address-cell-towers-on-sidewalks/37889316
Our second event on North 78th Street was focused on street safety and a dangerous speeding issue along that corridor. After a concerned neighbor reached out, finding little help from the City, a group of Mode Shift members and neighbors gathered with signs, safety vests, and a speed gun to bring attention to the speeding drivers to SLOW DOWN. We clocked speeds over 60 miles per hour in a 35 MPH zone. Wow!
Many productive conversations took place and many other drivers honked and waved at our demonstration. Aside from the reminder to motorists, the big benefit of our event was bringing the neighborhood together over their shared concerns about street safety. One neighbor even brought out his own speed gun for us to use!
We invited the Vision Zero Coordinator and Councilor Festersen to the N. 78th event but both declined. The good news: there’s a new Vision Zero Action Plan in the works! We’ll keep tabs on that progress as well and keep you posted on what we learn.