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Drawing of a figure walking on a sidewalk

N. Main Catch-22

Bikers skid on spring sands

by Michael Betzold

From the May, 2014 issue

City street sweeping vehicles cleaned the beautiful riverside pathway through Bandemer and Argo parks at the end of March soon after the snow finally melted. But they didn't touch the nearby sidewalk on N. Main, which was blanketed with dirt, gravel, glass, and other detritus unfriendly to bike tires and running shoes--all unearthed after the melting of snow piles left by a long winter's worth of street plowing.

Cyclists and joggers take the sidewalk to Lake Shore Dr., one of only two legal ways to cross the train tracks that separate Main St. from the Argo trail. (The other is the steep Broadway Bridges.) So why couldn't the city take a couple hours to sweep up the mess its plows left behind?

Because, says project management engineer Mike Nearing, it can't afford to--that's the job of property owners, and if the city did it for some, it'd be obligated to do it for any and all who requested it. Jessie Rogers of the police department's community standards division says officers could ask the property owners on N. Main to clean up any trash on their stretch of sidewalk--but under city ordinances, gravel and dirt aren't the property owner's responsibility. Some, however, eventually did sweep part of the sidewalk.

Better connections from Main to the river remain in limbo. Last year, a task force studying the crucial corridor looked at an expensive pedestrian bridge over Main and an under-railroad tunnel to the river along Depot St. Both remain at the pipe dream stage--so pathfinders will have to make their own way to the Argo Pond portion of the Border-to-Border Trail again this summer, over whatever obstacles they may find in their way.    (end of article)

[Originally published in May, 2014.]


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