Friday, 8 April 2016

Sarasota: Trash, broken sidewalks, and unfriendly pedestrian crossings.

I live in the City of Sarasota (and also in Sarasota County).  Both City and County are pretty high on themselves: apt to boast about our  amenities, our beaches,  our cultural life, our "high end " houses and condominiums.  and our  attractiveness to tourists.

If we have some traffic problems, both City and County assert that new or widened roads will solve that problem (for drivers but not for pedestrians).

If there is a wee bit of undeveloped land (especially within the City boundaries) it MUST be used to build luxury condos, or hotels, or fancy restaurants and the like.

Meanwhile we in the lower middle class or working class areas are all but ignored by the "powers that be".

( And God help homeless people who have no place to stay).

This neglect of we "ordinary people" became clear to me this morning.

My car was at the fabulous and trustworthy "Sam's Auto"  (17th and Lockwood Ridge) for some brake work,

I could have picked it up on Wednesday evening (6th April 2016) when the work had been done,

Instead I chose retrieve my car this morning and  to walk to Sam's before the heat of the day.

I set out for this approx 1.5 mile walk. I noted three things about which most drivers are in ignorance.

1.  The large amount of trash and litter on or near the sidewalks.  One bit of wetland looked a bit like a town dump.

2, The wretched condition of sidewalks, some badly damaged, others sinking into the ground, yet others being pushed up by tree roots.  Lord help some pedestrian with a shopping cart, or a parent with a pram or baby buggy, or a disabled person with a wheelchair or an electric scooter.

3. The inadequate timing of  push button controlled pedestrian crossing - leaving the walker to wait for up to two minutes to get a "cross now" signal.  (One such crossing is at the intersection of 17th Street and Lockwood Ridge Road.  The signal to "walk" (going west) is also at an intersection for a right turn only lane for cars. I waited there with two young cyclists, but our cross now signal coincided with a right turn filter.  Not one damn car would stop to allow us to cross, and we had to wait for a whole new cycle of the traffic lights before we once again got a cross now signal.

Like Sarasota, cities throughout the world are built to favour trucks and cars over an against walkers or cyclists.  There are simply too many cars.  They are choking the life out of the city.

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We have a fair to middling 'bus service in SRQ. I've investigated various routes.  I discovered that I would have to take two buses to get to my Dentist. I'd have a long wait between buses and (for example) should I have an 8:30 a.m. appointment I'd be there half an hour early, and I would have to wait outside until the office opened -  God help me if it was raining.

OR I'd have to take three buses to get to my Church, and even then I could not arrive on time.

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I walk a lot with my dog, always in the Glen Oaks Ridge community (which has no sidewalks) and in the Glen Oaks Manor community which has well maintained sidewalks.

I've found that I can get about six months or less worth of wear from my walking shoes.  I must have an odd gait -  see the heels of the shoes I discarded yesterday(on side of each shoe hardly worn, the other side worn right down to the upper.




I bought new walking shoes yesterday.  Do you know how hard it us to find men's shoes sized 8 1/2 Wide?  At Kohl's University Parkway store there were only two pairs of suitable shoes in that size.



Where there are shoes there is a shoe box.  The one I got yesterday now has a permanent resident.




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