O-K-L-A-H-O-M-Hey, Where Are the Sidewalks?

Governing Contributing Editor Anne Jordan is in Oklahoma for a conference.  She sent in this dispatch from the road: Last evening, sitting in a ...
by | September 18, 2008

Sidewalk Governing Contributing Editor Anne Jordan is in Oklahoma for a conference.  She sent in this dispatch from the road:

Last evening, sitting in a hotel room in Oklahoma City, I was browsing Facebook and read a status update posted by a teenage friend of our family: "Rob Young is tired of having wet socks."

Well, this morning I can totally relate to Rob's comment. I have soaking wet socks and shoes, and the bottom six inches of my pant legs are covered in mud. All because of my 20-minute morning "commute."

I came to Oklahoma City for a conference. The site is less than a mile from my hotel. I thought I didn't need a rental car. I was wrong! I am technically in the suburb of Quail Springs -- and that makes all the difference.

Every convenience -- food, shopping, entertainment, including the Quail Springs Mall -- is within six or eight blocks. But there are no sidewalks to be found.

So this morning, I had to decide between walking in the road (minimum 45 mph speed limit) or on the grass beside it. Only the fact that I am still alive tells me I made the right choice. There was, amusingly, a single 50-foot strip of pavement in front of a new Taco Bell. Just enough hard surface to stamp out my waterlogged shoes. Clearly the folks who live in the Quail Landing subdivision that I passed don't go out for a stroll.

On the taxi ride from the airport last evening, the driver filled me in on all the wonderful improvements the city had made with money from a voter-approved (and renewed) sales-tax increase in the past decade. Clearly, sidewalks aren't a priority. Guess later today I'll head over to the mall for some more socks, and fork over a little sales tax for the city's next big building project.    

Zach Patton  |  Executive Editor
zpatton@governing.com  | 

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