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Lack of Sidewalks in Edgemere a Danger to All

Students, senior citizens and athletes are among those who must dodge cars to travel many Edgemere streets on foot.

By Alysia Green

The bus just pulled into the bus loop at Sparrows Point High School; I gather my belongings and prepare to walk home.

After exiting the bus, I cross North Point Road to Lodge Farm Road, which is fairly busy because around 3 p.m., parents are on their way to pick up their children at local schools.

Once on Lodge Farm Road, I continue on asphalt paths. Because it rained recently, the paths are flooded and at certain points I must walk alongside cars on the road, which can feel as if I am dodging them.

If you live in the Sparrows Point-Edgemere community you are well aware of the absence of sidewalks and the asphalt paths that pose as sidewalks. If not, you may live in a neighborhood with a similar issue.

This issue is one that you may have ignored because it seems minute in comparison to other issues. I too felt this way. I was unaware of the seriousness of this issue until it was necessary for me to walk home.

I attend George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology, a magnet school in Towson, which provides transportation to and from my home school (Sparrows Point); from there I must walk home.

Although there are a few narrow pathways in the neighborhood to walk on, unlike concrete sidewalks, they are uneven, poorly made and are unlevel to the degree that they are a challenge to walk on.

As I continued my walk, I noticed two boys skateboarding on the road, opposite of me. Curious, I asked them why they weren’t skateboarding on the paths.

“The paths are rough," said Skylar Bachman, 13.

“[The paths] are near the woods, sticks and acorns land on them,” Alex Linderman, 13, said.

“They will stop the wheels and you’ll fly right off," Skylar finished.

It is apparent that these boys spend their time outside getting their exercise, but with the lack of sidewalks, skateboarding becomes a safety hazard.

Although these middle school students weren’t coming from school, many students from Sparrows Point Middle and High schools are required to walk home from school because their houses are too close to the school to have bus transportation. This poses a safety hazard because these pedestrians could easily be struck by a car.

Later, when I asked James Curbeam, 70, about his opinion on the lack of sidewalks, he replied, “It makes no sense that there are no sidewalks for children, walking home from school to walk on.”

Briana Gilchrist, 15, is one of those students. Gilchrist attends Sparrows Point High.

“I walk home from school every day," she said. "I find it annoying and dangerous to walk on these ragged paths.”

Many local residents believe Edgemere is a fairly nice community.

“After 17 years of living here I have found this to be a settled neighborhood, in which people are friendly and helpful," Donald Green Jr., 49, said. "It’s safe here.”

Many residents perceive it as a safe environment to walk, jog, and bicycle.

“Even though I don’t jog, I have noticed that others are comfortable with exercising in the area,” Green said.

These pleasurable activities are great ways to stay in shape, enjoy the weather, and get to desired destinations while experiencing the neighborhood in a more natural way. However, despite the delight pedestrians and bicyclists often receive in this experience, they are hindered by the lack of appropriate sidewalks.

Without sidewalks, many are more likely to stay indoors instead of getting fresh air and meeting fellow neighbors.

“There are many stores in walking distance but I always feel the need to drive my car because I fear for my safety when walking directly in the street,” Angela Green said.

Studies show that neighborhoods with active members are less likely to have encounters with burglars. More neighbors on sidewalks equals more eye witnesses.

Students and fitness buffs are not the only ones that endure the obstacles presented by these paths. I have occasionally encountered an elderly man in a scooter chair-type of vehicle riding from the St. Luke's Place, on Lodge Farm Road, all the way up through Lincoln Ave.

There are sidewalks coming up from St. Luke’s Place but they end abruptly, affecting this man’s travel. He must ease off the sidewalks onto the road; he most likely doesn’t ride his scooter chair on the pathways because they are too uneven for safe travel.

Whenever I see him riding on the road, cars have to be diligent when riding around him; one unsafe car could cause a disastrous event. I was unable to get in contact with this man, but I can assume that he would agree it is frightening to know that a disabled elderly individual could easily be struck by a car, just because of the lack of sidewalks.

The absence of sidewalks is not only a safety issue, but also diminishes the appearance of our neighborhood.

“Sidewalks make the town look more suburban and nice,” Delores Curbeam, 70, said.

Delores is correct; building sidewalks will make the community more “suburban”, which will encourage people to venture outside and be active.

Many potential house buyers want to buy homes in neighborhoods that are connected by suitable sidewalks, according to associate real estate broker Kelly Snow.

This community issue affects all of us. Even if you don’t walk, ride your bike or jog down these pathways, there is a good chance that you know someone or they know someone that does.

Concerning the safety of the community, James Curbeam believes “the production of sidewalks and proper drainage” could alleviate this safety issue.

I believe if we stick together as a community and fight for the construction of these sidewalks we can get it done.

According to walkinginfo.org, “elected officials will be more willing and likely to support a sidewalk project that has wide support from the community.”

 

Editor's Note: Dundalk Patch received this essay from Alysia Green, who wrote the essay for a class at George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology, a magnet high school in Towson.

Submissions from the community, and particularly students, are welcome. Send your submission to marge.neal@patch.com.

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Rick Solimini November 20, 2012 at 11:03 AM
the same goes for North Point Rd and North Point Blvd without side walks
Pat Mongan November 20, 2012 at 12:25 PM
The same goes for Sparrows Point Road from Sycamore Ave to North Point Blvd. They just repaved Sparrows Point Road but there isn't any sign of sidewalks being put in.
darkdilemma November 20, 2012 at 01:28 PM
I run on all of the streets mentioned above and it is treacherous. The "sidewalks" on Lodge Forest and Lodge Farm were put in when I was a kid and they were done haphazardly 30 years ago. So often I have wanted to knock on Norman Stone's door and have him join me. Talking about it will do nothing, making the elected officials walk them may have more of an impact. The other problem not mentioned are when people tear out the sidewalks in front of their houses which is also hazardous. Why a high school does not have an adequate foot path near the road has always baffled me.
Lynn November 20, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Well written!
Marge Neal (Editor) November 20, 2012 at 03:33 PM
She did a nice job, didn't she, Lynn? I was impressed!
Joe November 20, 2012 at 03:50 PM
"Sidealks" do not exist anywhere in the county do they?
Marge Neal (Editor) November 20, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Joe-Thanks for the (sarcastic) pointing out of the error — I fixed it. And it was my mistake, not the writer's. — Marge
Joe November 20, 2012 at 04:44 PM
I'm sorry Ms Neal, couldn't resist. Now, if the people jogging walking and walking their dog in areas WITH sidewalks would USE them instead of walking int he streets it would a big improvement.
Bread and Cheese Creek November 20, 2012 at 05:12 PM
There are many areas in our part of Baltimore County in desperate need of sidewalks. The section of North Point Road linking the North Point Shopping Center (where Wal-Mart is located) / Baltimore ARC with the businesses and residential areas on the other side of German Hill Road (near Poor Boys) has been in desperate need of sidewalks for years. Heavy foot traffic combined with a lack of a road shoulder (while crossing the bridge over Bread and Cheese Creek) and no street lighting has been responsible for numerous pedestrian fatalities over the years. Society encourages individuals to walk/bike/jog, etc. for health and to save energy, but traversing many of these areas require you to take your life in your own hand to do so without these much needed sidewalks.
Buzz Beeler November 20, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Sidewalks get in the way of PUD's, special favors for buddies in hiring, and tax breaks for developers. The people don't count just the machine, the same one that will role over you if your not on one of the few sidewalks in that area. The only thing that counts in the county is $$ and influence and it appears it's spreading like a cancer. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-county/bs-md-co-subpoeanas-20121116,0,4774951.story
Wayne Monroe November 20, 2012 at 08:40 PM
A sidewalk along the road in front of the High/Middle school and extending as far as Roger road would be a big help. So, when is the Jim Smith Edgemere "Revitalization" supposed to happen? But, I can show you a neighborhood WITH sidewalks and people still tend to walk in the street.
Ed Pedrick November 22, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Don't forget Wise Avenue between Bear Creek Bridge and Sparrows Point Country Club Ed P.
Buzz Beeler November 22, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Forget, their two top law enforcement agents can't deceiver the law while one touts a new crime unit to combat cyberbulling and the states attorney has no clue because his office does not have such a unit. I doubt if there is enough common sense from the county to realize where the bad areas are. If they are still there the Department of Public Works has lost touch. They work these areas every day.
Steve November 23, 2012 at 03:26 AM
LOL What does this even mean?? "Forget, their two top law enforcement agents can't deceiver the law while one touts a new crime unit to combat cyberbulling"
Mike November 24, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Yet our local politicians from our distict here in ESP found the money many years ago to pave the proverbial road to nowhere. You know, the one that is travelled by no cars between N. Pt. Blvd(just north of Mickeys), thru the woods & Bauer's farm to N. Pt. Rd. across from the entrance of N. Pt. State Park, which is quickly deteriorating from lack of maintenance and overgrown vegetation. This road serves so few people that it made no sense to me to waste taxpayer's money on paving it and I'm one of those few that it serves by regular usage for exercising thru cycling. I was perfectly happy with it when it was just paved with white crush & run stone. I'm sure the money spent on this road's paving could have bought alot of the much more beneficial & needed sidewalk mentioned this young journalist's article. Just try to figure it out. Which politician's pet project was this? Until the people learn to elect our legislators based on such traits as intelligence, governing integrity, good intentions, etc., instead of a popularity contest, this is the kind of thoughtless, unintelligent governing you are going to get from our politicians( and that goes for all levels of government).
Buzz Beeler November 24, 2012 at 03:39 AM
Streets are for bikes, sidewalks are for pedestrians. That is the law.

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