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Your Opinion: End sidewalk deferral quickly

Your Opinion: End sidewalk deferral quickly

December 14th, 2011 by Jim and Cindy Layton, Jefferson City in News

With City Council approval, JCMG deferred - not eliminated - its obligation to build sidewalks to serve those accessing and passing the site of its newest building. The City Council and staff can now look for funds to build the short stretch of sidewalk from Satinwood Drive to the JCMG campus. Once it finds the funds, the council can quickly end the JCMG deferral, and we'll get safe sidewalks stretching from near Route C to developing area around Target, Menard's and Kohls.

JCMG, dedicated to the health of the community, should not really need an ordinance to persuade it to enable and encourage pedestrian access to and through its campus. So we are disappointed that we won't see progress right away - that the doctors who comprise JCMG, instead of deferring their obligation, didn't dive in, helping find the resources to complete the task now. After all, those doctors are among the medical professionals reminding us that we do not get enough exercise.

One reason those of us living in Jefferson City aren't active enough is that areas where most people now live, work or shop were built in a way that makes it hard to use our legs for transportation.

JCMG's employees and customers have already been blessed with an extension of the Greenway trail, constructed through the JCMG campus by the city thanks to a JCMG easement. And JCMG has sponsored walks and other health-related events using the Greenway - though ironically, in the absence of sidewalks those who participate must drive to JCMG to participate. The value to JCMG's employees, customers, neighbors and the entire community, of extending sidewalks or the Greenway along arterial streets like Stadium to facilities like JCMG's campus should be a "no-brainer." We sincerely hope that the deferral is short.

And we hope that the reported discussion of a Greenway extension reflects a sincere desire by both City Council members and JCMG to transform JCMG's obligation to build a conventional sidewalk into the construction of something even better. An innovative, aesthetically preferable approach, extending the Greenway further into the JCMG campus and tying it to existing sidewalks at a point as close as possible to the Satinwood/Stadium intersection, rather than a sidewalk immediately adjacent to Stadium, is something the city and JCMG should explore.

But please, don't delay; our city's health is ill-served by postponing steps to increase our walking options.