• Good sidewalks, good health
    February 28,2013

    Good sidewalks, good health

    Last year the Montpelier City Council adopted goals to maintain sidewalks and other infrastructure in at minimum fair or good condition and to become a nationally known bike- and pedestrian-friendly city. As a frequent pedestrian I applaud these goals. The council has also put on the March ballot a bonding issue to help carry out these goals, and Montpelier voters can help the council implement these goals by passing the bond issue.

    A few years ago the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, as a member of Vermont Interfaith Action, after consulting with congregational members decided to advocate for improved sidewalks in Montpelier. Senior members were especially concerned. Vermont Interfaith Action carried out research and documented that well-maintained sidewalks reduced falls for seniors, a major health problem. Further, well-maintained sidewalks were more apt to be used, which resulted in: health benefits for all, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, fewer parking problems, less crime and a stronger sense of community. Next the Unitarian VIA carried out actions and has been in contact with City Council members as a group and individually encouraging improved sidewalks. They have also worked with and helped the Department of Public Works by monitoring sidewalk conditions.

    The VIA Committee of the Unitarian Church urges voters to support the upcoming bond issue for the lowly but city-enhancing sidewalk. Here’s a “tanka” for sidewalks:

    Lowly, plain, and unnoticed

    and as indispensable

    as a motel maid,

    or custodian,

    like the meek, may they be blessed.

    Harris Webster


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