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Old 06-11-2014, 06:12 PM
 
231 posts, read 306,745 times
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I'm really interested to hear what Richmond suburbanites think about the lack of sidewalks in the suburbs. Does it bother you? Or could you care less? Coming from suburban areas where sidewalks are common, it's taken me awhile to get used to not having many. Do you ever find yourself wishing you could take a leisurely walk to a restaurant or park a mile or so away on a nice day without having to avoid drainage ditches and overgrowth? Or is it worth the infrastructure savings in your mind?

I just find the design of the suburbs around here fascinating (I know, I'm kinda boring). It's different than anything I've experienced, although I'm sure it's not entirely unique. The overpasses in particular interest me - I can't figure out if it's even legal for pedestrians to walk across or under overpasses that intersect with freeways (we're assuming the pedestrian isn't on the freeway, but a normal road).
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Old 06-11-2014, 06:32 PM
 
Location: Where my bills arrive
6,894 posts, read 8,389,400 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by one is lonely View Post
I'm really interested to hear what Richmond suburbanites think about the lack of sidewalks in the suburbs. Does it bother you? Or could you care less? Coming from suburban areas where sidewalks are common, it's taken me awhile to get used to not having many. Do you ever find yourself wishing you could take a leisurely walk to a restaurant or park a mile or so away on a nice day without having to avoid drainage ditches and overgrowth? Or is it worth the infrastructure savings in your mind?

I just find the design of the suburbs around here fascinating (I know, I'm kinda boring). It's different than anything I've experienced, although I'm sure it's not entirely unique. The overpasses in particular interest me - I can't figure out if it's even legal for pedestrians to walk across or under overpasses that intersect with freeways (we're assuming the pedestrian isn't on the freeway, but a normal road).
You seem to have a rather bleak picture of the suburbs in this area. I find the availability of sidewalks no more/less than what I had growing up in the suburbs up north. The drainage ditches and overgrowth are not around where I live so I wonder where your strolling.

I could ask to you enjoy the potential round and round every night of finding a place to park your car after coming home from work, does the piles of trash in the alleys and fall leaves which lay blocking parking spaces for 6 months something you would rather avoid. Does it really get to be a hassle when you want more than the corner store offers or to eat somewhere other than the local restaurant but you have to weigh the chance of finding a parking spot when you get back.....

I can't see why you find these suburbs so unique but I don't know what model you are comparing them to...
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Old 06-11-2014, 07:38 PM
 
1,356 posts, read 1,533,474 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by one is lonely View Post
I'm really interested to hear what Richmond suburbanites think about the lack of sidewalks in the suburbs. Does it bother you? Or could you care less? Coming from suburban areas where sidewalks are common, it's taken me awhile to get used to not having many. Do you ever find yourself wishing you could take a leisurely walk to a restaurant or park a mile or so away on a nice day without having to avoid drainage ditches and overgrowth? Or is it worth the infrastructure savings in your mind?

I just find the design of the suburbs around here fascinating (I know, I'm kinda boring). It's different than anything I've experienced, although I'm sure it's not entirely unique. The overpasses in particular interest me - I can't figure out if it's even legal for pedestrians to walk across or under overpasses that intersect with freeways (we're assuming the pedestrian isn't on the freeway, but a normal road).
I've driven through the suburbs in many parts of Henrico and I wonder the same thing. When I was a little kid, the sidewalks offered some safety when we would go out and play in the neighborhood.
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Old 06-11-2014, 08:05 PM
 
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VA Yankee, I think you're reading more into my comments than was there. I don't have a bleak view of Richmond's suburbs. I actually like Richmond's suburbs. I just wish there were more sidewalks. I can grasp why the suburbs decided to forgo sidewalks, but as an avid walker, and I'm not going to lie and say it's something I don't miss.

As for where I walk, generally it's been Midlothian Turnpike. Which isn't bad, except the overpasses are unsafe and (again) there are no sidewalks. As an experiment, I recently tried taking a walk through Bon Air, and I found some portions exceedingly difficult to pass through. It's not even so much the lack of sidewalks, but the fact there is sometimes no space for a pedestrian, especially when a road goes over large ditch running perpendicular to it.

To throw out a positive for Richmond suburbs (so I don't sound like a bad guy), I will say that the housing stock is more impressive than I've seen in many other suburban areas. Some of the retail strips are truly a notch above, too. Actually, many quality restaurants and shopping options in close proximity is why I've noted the lack of sidewalks!
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Old 06-11-2014, 08:52 PM
 
Location: Richmond, VA
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Lack of pedestrian and cycling infrastructure in Richmond suburbs is one of my biggest gripes as well. I can only assume that at the time large portions of the counties were developed (70s-90s), sidewalks were not required, so sidewalks weren't built (there are exceptions of course). Older suburban areas have them and some new areas do as well.
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Old 06-11-2014, 09:13 PM
 
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They even build the newest developments out in the west end without sidewalks. It's kind of strange seeing them.
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Old 06-12-2014, 05:59 AM
 
Location: Virginia (again)
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Wyndham and Twin Hickory have sidewalks and honestly this was a big reason I wanted to live in Wyndham. Sidewalks and a neighborhood pool were a requirement.

We moved here when my kids were 3 and 4 and I wanted to be able to walk/ride bikes safely to the playgrounds in the neighborhood and the pool. It's a huge plus. My kids often walk/ride their bikes to school. I wouldn't allow them to do that without the sidewalks.
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Old 06-12-2014, 06:55 AM
 
Location: Where my bills arrive
6,894 posts, read 8,389,400 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by one is lonely View Post
VA Yankee, I think you're reading more into my comments than was there. I don't have a bleak view of Richmond's suburbs. I actually like Richmond's suburbs. I just wish there were more sidewalks. I can grasp why the suburbs decided to forgo sidewalks, but as an avid walker, and I'm not going to lie and say it's something I don't miss.

As for where I walk, generally it's been Midlothian Turnpike. Which isn't bad, except the overpasses are unsafe and (again) there are no sidewalks. As an experiment, I recently tried taking a walk through Bon Air, and I found some portions exceedingly difficult to pass through. It's not even so much the lack of sidewalks, but the fact there is sometimes no space for a pedestrian, especially when a road goes over large ditch running perpendicular to it.

To throw out a positive for Richmond suburbs (so I don't sound like a bad guy), I will say that the housing stock is more impressive than I've seen in many other suburban areas. Some of the retail strips are truly a notch above, too. Actually, many quality restaurants and shopping options in close proximity is why I've noted the lack of sidewalks!
Fair enough, sidewalks have always seemed to be a decision of the builder, within the neighborhoods there historically wasn't a need (at least when I grew up) as most people knew to slow down and look for children. Yes times have changed and people at times seem to have no respect for kids in the neighborhood. Midlothian Tpk like Virginia Beach Blvd are some of the worst examples of planning regardless if it's city/suburb. Both roads seem to be a throwback to the late 50's early 60's when the designers could do no wrong. Sort of the same era that tore neighborhoods apart to put interstates through them....

On another note as the news continues to report periodically the city has sidewalks and many sidewalk issues that never get addressed maybe this why suburban designers took a hard look and asked "do we really need this?" Just a thought...
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Old 06-12-2014, 07:13 AM
 
231 posts, read 306,745 times
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Quote:
Fair enough, sidewalks have always seemed to be a decision of the builder, within the neighborhoods there historically wasn't a need (at least when I grew up) as most people knew to slow down and look for children.
I'll agree that your typical subdivision doesn't necessarily need a sidewalk. At least it's not a major priority. It's more the major roads I think that are important, considering you often have vehicles constantly zooming through at 50+ MPH, and many parks and business are located along such thoroughfares.

The American Planning Association had an interesting recommendation on the topic: ONE sidewalk is justified if vehicles number 30 to 100 an hour and if there are 150 pedestrians a day; or more than 100 vehicles an hour and only 100 pedestrians a day.

It's clear to me that many suburban roads here more than meet the vehicle requirements. Obviously, there aren't many pedestrians, but it's unclear if that's way because of the how cities were planned, or if there just wouldn't be any demand from pedestrians.
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Old 06-12-2014, 10:33 AM
 
Location: Where my bills arrive
6,894 posts, read 8,389,400 times
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The American Planning Association is just that an association who believes that XYZ should occur if..... That is their position and one that doesn't provide funding to communities to implement their design. Most suburbs as we think of them today started after WWII, that model was based on the automobile not walking. Distances between work, shopping living became more spread out and households with 2 cars became the norm. I think suburbs that developed out from existing towns/villages had the traditional walkable downtown but very quickly ended as development leapt outwards and away from existing towns.

Look at Levitttown in NY ( http://tigger.uic.edu/~pbhales/Levit...ife%201948.jpg), probally the first modern suburb built in the middle of nowhere 20 miles east of anything. Where were you going to walk, ironically this neighborhood had sidewalks because that was the norm back then but within a few years that would no longer be true.

We see this here with the older original neighborhoods retaining sidewalks and the later one eliminating them. Planned communities are unique in what features they provide so I don't if they're providing sidewalks is a change in design model everywhere. Shopping on Broad Street (not SHort Pump) I really don't see much pedestrian traffic so is it fair to build for that?
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