Ridgewood street should have sidewalks
February 6, 2015 Last updated: Friday, February 6, 2015, 12:31 AM
The Ridgewood News
Clinton Ave. should have sidewalks
To the Editor:
Clinton Avenue, which connects Godwin and West Ridgewood avenues, does not currently have any sidewalks. The street is closed to through vehicular traffic from 8 a.m. through 3:45 p.m. on school days. Nevertheless, some vehicles are permitted to travel on the block even during those hours, alongside children and their parents who are in the street walking to and from school. At all other times, the street is open, with people having to share the road with traffic. Clinton Avenue is a not a quiet, dead-end street on which the possibility of a car passing a pedestrian is unlikely.
The subject of whether to install sidewalks on Clinton Avenue in conjunction with a planned repaving project was discussed by Village Council members during their work session of Jan. 28 and in November 2014. Councilman Michael Sedon reported that the Citizens’ Safety Advisory Committee supports repaving Clinton Avenue without installing sidewalks, as does the Ridge Home and School Association. However, Village Manager Roberta Sonenfeld stated that Police Chief John Ward, Sgt. Brian Pullman and Village Engineer Chris Rutishauser all deem that sidewalks on Clinton Avenue would be safer than not having sidewalks.
During the Jan. 28 Village Council work session, numerous residents of Clinton Avenue offered their unequivocal opinions that the street is safe for pedestrians in spite of the fact that there are no sidewalks. They justified their stance by stating there is no history of pedestrian-involved traffic accidents on the block; this argument is flawed. As Councilwoman Susan Knudsen stated, lack of any accident is not a reasonable defense for continuing to allow residents (at times, “a parade of children,” as one resident characterized it) to walk in the street alongside vehicles, including trucks.
We can all be immensely grateful that no accident has occurred, but everyone knows that accidents happen without notice. A collision between a vehicle and a human being (especially a child) can reasonably be expected to be injurious, if not fatal. While we all encounter hazards each day as we move through our lives, many of which are unpredictable and unavoidable, we must do the best we can to protect one another from harm. It cannot be emphasized enough that everything possible should be done to prevent vehicle vs. pedestrian accidents, of which there have been too many in Ridgewood within the last few years. We need to do whatever is practical and reasonable to prevent any more from occurring.
Clinton Avenue residents also expressed concerns about how the installation of sidewalks would change their properties, plantings, and driveways. Front lawns on streets without sidewalks have the same right-of-way easement as those with sidewalks. In other words, the few feet encompassed by the width of a sidewalk do not belong to the homeowner, even though property owners are expected to maintain this strip.
It is my hope that the Village Council will decide for the safety of our residents by heeding the advice of the aforementioned experts and approving a sidewalk for Clinton Avenue.
Anne LaGrange Loving