Sometimes, when I have an idea or a complaint, all I want is to be heard.
Recently, I wrote a letter to the Mayor’s office asking that they consider adding sidewalks to the street I live on in conjunction with a city-wide push to make the community more pedestrian friendly.
I poured my heart into the letter. Did some research, quoted statistics, offered an evaluation of the local demographics.
But for the past two and a half weeks, I heard nothing.
I was tempted to say, “Well at least I spoke up.” But somehow, speaking up didn’t seem like enough. I wanted to be heard, too.
Yesterday, I received an email back. It might be a form letter; it sounds rather polite and legal. But at least I feel heard.
Here’s my letter:
I live on 79th Street between Michigan Road and Township Line Road on the far Northwest side of Indianapolis. On a regular basis, I look out my window to see men walking to work, groups of teenagers passing by in groups, young moms pushing strollers, elderly women running, even groups of children riding bicycles. Rather than giving me pleasure at living in such a vibrant community, I am filled with fear that a vehicle will strike one of these people. Because in each case, these people are walking along the side of the road or near the storm sewer because there is no sidewalk along this portion of 79th Street.
Each morning, I go out to my garage and get into my car to drive to work. If I want to ride my bicycle or take my dog for a walk, I load them in the back of the car and head to the park. For many people in this area, however, owning a vehicle is not a reality. They rely on walking or possible riding a bicycle to get to work or at least to the bus stop. In the meantime, they risk their lives walking along the side of a busy street with a 40 mph speed limit.
Especially now that Michigan Road is being improved with a pedestrian/bicycle path (what a great project choice, by the way!), more and more people are going to be walking along 79th Street to get to that corridor. Thousands of people living in the numerous apartment complexes along Harcourt Street and Township Line Road between 86th Street and 79th Street, and even just south of there on both streets need access to get to Michigan Road or up to 86th Street by foot or bike to take advantage of jobs, shopping, healthcare, and entertainment.
Will you consider adding sidewalks to the section of 79th Street between Harcourt Street and Michigan Road as part of the Rebuild Indy program?
According to a recent interview with WTHR, Sarah Holsapple from the Department of Public Works said that it costs about $68 per foot to build sidewalks in Indianapolis. This section of 79th Street covers approximately 6,000 feet, which would put the project at more than $400,000. I realize that this would be large investment. However, thousands of residents would benefit through increased safety and access to services from this addition to the overall Rebuild Indy.
Thank you for your consideration.
Here’s the response from the department of public works:
Thank you so much for your infrastructure improvement suggestion.
We realize that there are great infrastructure needs throughout Marion County. Under Mayor Ballard’s initiative, the RebuildIndy program is working diligently to address those needs in order to not only enhance our city, but to improve the quality of life of our residents.
Your input is essential to this program and we’d like to thank you again for helping us to determine the outstanding infrastructure needs throughout the city. Our engineers are looking into this issue and we’ll be in touch with more information as soon as possible. 
And for those of you reading this who have your own blogs, ever wonder why you do it? Why do you keep writing your heart out without really know who is out there reading and listening? If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Would my life be better if I just stopped blogging,” read this BRILLIANT post by fellow editor, Bradley J Moore, called “Blogging is Stupid.”
And if you don’t blog, let me know if you you hear me.
It helps some days.
Photo by jphilipg, via Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License.