Walk this way 

That’s where the Neighborhood Alliance of Central Oklahoma comes in. The organization has an online survey inviting people to help prioritize how the MAPS 3 Trails and Sidewalks Subcommittee should allocate $10 million for the construction of sidewalks along major streets.

Neighborhood Alliance Executive Director Georgie Rasco said sidewalks are important for beautification, safety and health purposes.

“Several fatalities have occurred when people are walking in the street because there are no sidewalks,” she said. “Also, Oklahoma has one of the largest obesity problems in the country. I’m not saying that if we put sidewalks in, it will make us healthier, but it is one part of the answer.”

Rasco added that there is an economic component to sidewalk construction. According to Ward 2 City Councilman Ed Shadid, she said, a number of businesses have decided against locating in Oklahoma City partly based on poor standards of health and the financial toll that can take on employers. Rasco said a city where people walk and bike more can translate to lower health insurance costs.

Online at nacok.org until March 14, the survey poses two viable options for determining where to establish sidewalks.

right Georgie Rasco
The first option is to place them where they are most heavily needed, even if that means the money won’t stretch as far. The second option is to construct as many miles of sidewalk as possible in other areas.

Even after the MAPS 3 funding is spent, Rasco said the need for additional sidewalks will remain great. The trails and sidewalks subcommittee anticipates improving conditions as much as it can with available resources.

“We owe it to our citizens to provide them with sidewalks,” said Rasco, a member of the subcommittee. “We need their help deciding what areas they want us to concentrate on. We need to prioritize.”

Sidewalk photo by Mark Hancock

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