BREAKING: City mapmakers focus on sidewalks

Mike Paulus

Usually, when we need to make fun of the things that rile up local citizens, our go-to joke is something to do with sidewalk ordinances. Well, the City of Eau Claire seems to be taking all that riled-up-ness seriously. They’re creating a “sidewalk map” detailing … wait for it … the city’s sidewalks. It’ll show every single sidewalk we have, as well as where we plan on building more. Planners say the map will help in a number of areas. First off, it’ll help us to know what destinations we can actually get to on foot. Secondly, it’ll warn homeowners about big slabs of concrete coming their way. And lastly, it’ll help the city see where more walkways are needed. From WEAU.com

  • Senior Planner Pat Ivory says the map makes it very clear where sidewalks are needed; for example, across from Oakwood Mall where the sidewalk literally ends. But, a city councilman says it could also stop sidewalk wars in the future.
  • "Sidewalks are one of the more interesting things that the city council deals with, depending on your point of view," says City Council Vice President Dave Duax. …
  • He hopes the map will help prepare homeowners when one could be coming.
  • "What they don't like is when they just planted that tree a year ago, then along comes the city and says 'we're putting a sidewalk in this year.' and they go 'wait a minute!'" Duax says.

Wait a minute! I’m not sure a map will make homeowners any less pissed off about changes to their landscaping, even if they can plan around it in advance. But if they can make the map readily available to the public, it might get more people walking. As far as this being  "one of the more interesting things that the city council deals with" ... um. Heh.

Working with the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission, planners have a draft of the map which you can download here (PDF). Check it out.