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Blocked Sidewalk Next to Ralphs Shows Little Concern for Pedestrians

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, June 11, 2008, at 06:42PM
Another Sidewalk Closure Eric Richardson [Flickr]

A steady stream of pedestrians ignore the closed sidewalk sign and pass through anyway.

A stretch of sidewalk next to Downtown's new Ralphs is closed due to construction, leaving pedestrians inconvenienced and creating an unsafe situation as walkers take to the street.

Downtown is widely talked of as a place for pedestrians, where those who live and work are freed from the need to have a car, but the city's attitude toward sidewalks has largely told a different story.

CIM Group just broke ground on a parking garage set to rise on the site, located immediately north of Ralphs on Hope street. As is typical in Downtown, the start of construction meant that fencing was placed across the sidewalk and the block was closed to pedestrian traffic.

As is also typical Downtown, no one seems to have noticed. Visits to the site both Monday evening and Wednesday afternoon saw a steady flow of pedetrians ignoring the signs and walking around the closure and adjacent parked cars to get where they needed to go.

The closure comes at a particularly bad place. Ralphs is one of Downtown's biggest pedestrian draws, attracting resident shoppers and a heavy business lunch traffic.

In many other cities, a construction project like this would have meant that barricades would have been used to create a temporary sidewalk out in the street. For this particular site, that would not have even meant removing a lane of traffic -- the curbside space is for parking only.

When asked about the closure, a representative from Councilwoman Jan Perry's office said that the office had asked Public Works to review the closure and report back.


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