An alert FrontBurnervian sends over the photo above this post, from the intersection at Jackson and Ervay streets downtown. This is staring north toward Ervay, and as you can see, both sidewalks are occupied with construction mess. Sometimes we get some trolling in the comments on these Dallas Hates Pedestrians posts, telling us to walk across the street to the other sidewalk. I like to think that we should instead consider requiring scaffolding so we don’t have to do that in the densest part of our city. But here, the point is moot. You walk with the cars, or you find another block.
This is a fine example of the Right of Way issues that the city is struggling with. Simply put, we give it away. Construction takes over pedestrian walkways, forcing people on two feet into unsafe or inconvenient decisions. This reminds me of the construction outside AT&T’s forthcoming Discovery District on Commerce Street. Great, we’re getting a Cool New $100 Million Tech District. You’d think the easiest part of building that would be to do so without forcing me into four lanes of traffic when I cross the street.
Earlier this year, our Shawn Shinneman covered a meeting of the Dallas City Council’s Mobility Solutions, Infrastructure, and Sustainability committee. Chairman Lee Kleinman had last year asked staff to re-evaluate the Right of Way policy, to help prevent situations such as these. They were being briefed on some of the findings. Here’s part of their recommendations, per Shawn:
The recommendation from staff moving forward is to amend city code to require temporary walkways or scaffolding when there is not “active work” occurring on the actual sidewalk, such as concrete being poured or work on utilities. If it’s unavoidable, the city will require a pedestrian detour.
Ervay and Jackson is yet another active reminder that this is something that should be prioritized. And, by the way, that photo was taken around 5 p.m. yesterday, when downtown is emptying out and pedestrians are finding their ways to their vehicles or their homes.