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The Issue: The city announced plans to construct sidewalks on the east side of University Terrace in Palisades as part of a reconstruction project, prompting immediate pushback from some residents who thought they’d make the neighborhood feel more “urban.” Who knew four-foot-wide strips of pavement could be so controversial?
Don’t Build Them: Residents of more than two dozen properties on the street signed and submitted a no-sidewalks petition to the D.C. Department of Transportation last month. Some people maintained the sidewalks were unnecessary because no one really walks there; plus, they’d ruin front yards. “People are opposed to the whole idea of sidewalks,” Gordon Kit told the Dupont Current last month. “I don’t think there’s any one primary reason why people are against them….They just don’t have any real purpose.”
Build Them: Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh has been pro-sidewalk. She says it’s city policy to install sidewalks in the course of any street reconstruction; it’s a matter of public safety. Plus, some residents say people actually do walk on University Terrace, including children, en route to Key Elementary.
Next Step: The project was supposed to have begun by now, sidewalks and all, but John Lisle, a DDOT spokesman, confirms that the work has been postponed—-yes, at least in part because there “wasn’t a clear consensus.” The city will continue to “study the issues” surrounding the reconstruction and will get more input from the community, he said. Look for more meetings.