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Sidewalk Requirements

Many of you have seen people trying to walk along the shoulders of some of Leon County's busiest roads because there are no sidewalks.

The county is looking to revise its rules for sidewalks, at least in new subdivisions. The county attorney and the Planning Department agree there are several problems with the code, potential safety issues being one of them. The county is hoping to remedy those problems as quickly as possible.

In recent years, the desire and necessity for sidewalks, along with bike lanes, has become very high in Tallahassee.

Tina Niggel says, "I think it's an excellent idea. You've got kids on bikes and speeding cars. It makes me nervous. It's just a safety issue."

In an attempt to create more sidewalks, the county does have a sidewalk ordinance, but the Planning Department say it's time to re-examine it.

Wayne Tedder of the Planning Department says, "In a lot of instances it may be impossible to build a sidewalk in a development or adjacent to a development that's along an existing roadway due to environmental constraints."

Meaning building a sidewalk next to a ditch or a high speed road because contractors are required to by an ordinance may not be the best idea. The county is looking to revise and improve the code.

"That provision would be to allow exemptions in certain areas within preservation features and allow for a fee in lieu of to be paid by the developer," adds Wayne.

Tedder says also with the revision contractors would pay the county $4.00 per square foot of sidewalk instead of building a sidewalk somewhere inaccessible. The county would then turn around and build a sidewalk some place safe and conducive for the residents.

"It just makes sense to have bike paths and sidewalks. I'm all for it, it would be wonderful," adds Tina.

Leon County attorney Herb Thiele says the current ordinance has broad writing that sometimes does not make a lot of sense. He says there have been occasions when sidewalks have been built where no one uses them. The county wants to put an end to that.

Tuesday night at the Leon County Commission meeting folks will have a chance to tell the board their ideas and concerns. That starts at 6 p.m. at the Courthouse.


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