Walkable cities are a good idea

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Walkable cities are a great idea.

Efforts are under way in Columbiana to renovate downtown. Included are new sidewalks with room for crepe myrtle trees and old-style street lights with banner arms. This will certainly help make downtown much more attractive to people who like to park their cars and walk.

But as a recent walking tour of Columbiana revealed, there are more things to be addressed in making a city walkable.

There are places in which sidewalks are so badly cracked and

or nonexistent that walking is difficult.

There are other places where traffic speed is much too high and where some decorative medians could help slow speeders making it possible for walkers to feel safe and possibly provide bicycle lanes for safe bike travel.

Columbiana has agreed to address these areas.

And Shelby County’s other cities and towns should follow suit.

Think how nice it would be for people to walk downtown to do their business like they did in years past before strip-shopping centers and indoor malls became the order of the day.

One could park the car and walk to shop and to eat, saving gas and getting fresh air and exercise.

If taken to its logical conclusion, the downtowns of today’s Shelby County cities could actually compete with the malls for business and

boost local economies while helping to make citizens feel safer at the same time.

We hope this walkable city idea catches on