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Op-Ed: Why Residents Remain Concerned About Evergreen Ave. Sidewalk

One of the people involved in the contentious debate since its outset says there's a lot to learn from the sidewalk saga.

Fellow Evergreen Ave. and Homestead Valley residents: Whether you want it or not, !

As an Evergreen Ave. resident for the last 16 years, I have no problem with improvements being made here and there as time goes on - that's a part of things evolving in time. Funds are put aside for those kinds of improvements needed and dispersed accordingly to community projects through the state and federal levels. I also acknowledge the difficulties for cities and counties to secure those funds for improvements in the public access areas of their communities.

What makes "The Evergreen Avenue Saga" a unique story to keep up with is that there's so much to learn from it, from the secret plans to the desperate connection from the 1970's crooked green patch curb ending at Linden Lane, with a new sidewalk addition extending to Ethel Ave. and adjoining to the sidewalk at sidewalk on Evergreen and Miller avenues. The upper portion of Evergreen would get a new sidewalk extending to on Melrose Ave.

Environmental impact reports and traffic study surveys were considered not applicable for this project because Department of Public Works considered this project as simple sidewalk maintenance to an already existing sidewalk. I got more than 90 signatures on a petition about the original plans not being suitable for our neighborhood and asking for the necessary reports needed to protect the residents from unknown negative impacts.

I took the lead on this because DPW wasn't listening to residents' concerns, the 6-foot-wide design was about to be approved and put up for bid, and there was nothing else effectively being done at that time.

Homeowners continued to ask for input as the Safe Routes to Schools grant kept getting extensions. The and the latest version of the plans were approved June 3, a , and the work started June 11.

I asked for a preconstruction mock-up from DPW and the residents soon realized that the sidewalk (in hopes of making the road a bit wider for less road impacts). The residents’ concerns about the semi-rural aesthetics were supposedly addressed as well, with a choice of color added into the concrete so it's not so gray. Well, it looks about as gray as any other urban sidewalk!

I've recently been speaking to residents about their thoughts on all of this. There's a lot of concern about how high the sidewalk is compared to elevations of the front yards of the properties fronting the sidewalk.

Most agree that there's something very agenda first, community second in this whole "impervious plot."

Keith Garriott July 12, 2012 at 09:55 AM
It's only a matter of time as it passes when the passive people of our community realize the effects of the impacts the impervious plot leaves for our future on the beloved Evergreen Avenue's surrounding residences, it's main thoroughfare functionality, landscapes, aesthetics and ecosystem.
Mari July 12, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Keith - I agree it's just a matter of time, and that most people are passive. But you are right - there should have been more transparency. I'm not trying to vilify anyone - but people should at least be able to admit when they make a mistake. At least we tried to warn people ahead of time. Have you seen how the cars just keep whipping around the curve?
Anne Tique August 25, 2012 at 08:40 PM
The sidewalk has improved my daily walking commute, but been a detriment to the times I drive. By the way, each time I walk the route I pick up stray screws, nails, and wire, not cleaned up by the construction crew. The sidewalk should have been narrower; wide enough to accommodate a wheel chair would have been sufficient. Pedestrians do not need to walk two abreast while passing each other. We/they could go single file in order to accommodate more roadway for safe passage of cars where street parking and curves dominate. Was there any effort at compromise on this? An unequivocal improvement, in my opinion, however, are the two new stop signs. Our whole family is relieved that FINALLY the leaving-Marin-Horizon traffic will have to wait a turn at the Melrose/Evergreen intersection, and that traffic from the other direction on Melrose is now controlled which benefits those trying to see around the obscured corner of Evergreen at Melrose.
Mari October 01, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Scott - Sidewalk issues aside, thanks for starting Nextdoor Homestead Valley. I honestly think it will be a key factor in rebuilding the damage done by past lack of communication. How about we all do our best to move forward, with a friendly competition to see who can recruit the most neighbors to our private social network? That way, we open the lines of communication between neighbors, and take some pressure/responsibility off the HVCA Board. "When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the future." Bernard Meltzer
Mari October 01, 2012 at 09:11 PM
here's the link, Keith : https://nextdoor.com/invite/c69e1498c43ff4051c8b

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