It would be a good idea to have a continuous sidewalk along Killington Avenue in Rutland, and I don’t say that just because I live on that street. The street is a major artery to the east and southeast sections of the city. Traffic is continuous and at times heavy. Even in the wee hours of the morning hardly a half-hour goes by without the passage of one or more vehicles.
Pedestrian use of the street is extensive. For the most part pedestrians use the correct side to walk on — that is, the side where they are facing oncoming traffic. But a considerable number of people use the side where they are going in the same direction as the car traffic, and although there haven’t been a lot of vehicle-pedestrian accidents, a continuous sidewalk for use in both directions would be an improvement in that context.
The sidewalk wouldn’t have to be made of concrete blocks. Something like that which was installed as continuous on Stratton Road when the high school came into being at Stratton Road and Woodstock Avenue would be sufficient. All we need is something that would keep pedestrians from having to use the street pavement.
In the past one of the problems with sidewalk continuation was that landowners had to pay part of the cost of a sidewalk that went next to their land. This was known as the “Abutters Rule.” Some landowners agreed, and others didn’t. You can see the results on Killington Avenue now. A stretch of sidewalk will extend in front of several properties, then there will be a gap of one or two properties and then the walk will be resumed for a bit.
I think if the city paid the entire cost, practically every landowner would agree to let it go in front of his or her property. Certain precautions would have to be taken so as not to interfere with any water intake and sewer lines, but that seems to have caused few problems in other places where sidewalks have been installed. There probably also should be a walkway built across Moon Brook.
Mention of the abutting landowners brings to mind something that happened back in the ’50s when I was covering City Hall. I went on vacation, and the reporter substituting (he has long since gone) turned out to be unfamiliar with some of the terms. A board meeting spent quite some time discussing sidewalk possibilities, and numerous terms were used in context. When he came to write his story, he insisted that the aldermen had been talking about the “butting landowners,” making them sound like a herd of goats, and the “Butters Law.” The mistake got past the proofreaders and made for some hilarity next day.
But if the city decides to make a continuous sidewalk along Killington Avenue, I for one won’t butt against it.
Kendall Wild is a retired editor of the Herald.MORE IN Commentary
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