Cross-Walks in Liberty are Needed.

One of most needed locations for a crosswalk.
One of the things I keep on hoping for, for Liberty, is increased walkability. The ability to transverse the town without motor-transportation in safety and ease. The lack of sidewalks is huge problem for residents, especially those in the senior living housing near the town cemetery. Often you can catch one of our older residents walking down the center-lane of Swannonoa Avenue with their tennis ball styled walker trying to get to Food Lion followed by a long line of traffic unwilling to pass them.. With the increase in businesses in this corridor, and the additional traffic of the last few years, it gets rather scary for my family of four to cross the street, let-alone senior citizens who may have difficulties in mobility, sight, or hearing.

But something could be done. Even if budgetary measure prevent a new sidewalk on the south side of Swannanoa Avenue (or even better a center lane Greenway), we could add cross-walks at a minimum cost. Some paint on the street would provide the pedestrians with a clear right-of-way where once they're in it, and would allow them to cross despite traffic. Once a person is in the zebra-crossing, a car must stop.

For those who haven't lived in a big-city, crosswalks usual come in two types. Signaled ones (where the pedestrian has a button and/or a light) and standard zebra-crossings without a light. The signaled versions (which would inevitably may add cost to the project) gives automobile traffic the right-of-way till they're stopped by a traffic signal. These are most common in main roads, or congested areas. The other type, a simple painted cross-walk, gives the pedestrian the right-of-way the moment they step into the street, and cars are required to stop, giving full right-of-way to the pedestrian. The cost is likely a few dollars for the paint, and a few hundred dollars for the necessary signage, all well worth the investment in my opinion.

This is my wish for Liberty, though I wouldn't mind seeing the speed reduced in this area as well. I've seen animals ran-over and children who have come close. Currently there is no access from the Southern part of the town to newer businesses without crossing a heavily trafficked road. The current situation of Liberty's walkability actually encourages motor transportation, where as we as a community should support the opposite: a community of safe, open access for everyone to local businesses.

In addition these changes will help the environment, increase the health and well-being of citizens and allow better disabled access to merchants. Crosswalks are needed in Liberty, but that's a minimum.


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