Dr. Deborah Kuhlmann
English 130122 Oct. 2016
Safe Passage is Paramount
Parker City was established in 1908. It is a city rich in tradition and spirit with its vintage art museum resting on a private lot uptown on 16th street, a drive-in movie theatre and the famous Parker Cathedral. Parker City has been rapidly developing over the years into what is now a modern day metropolitan with the insertion of paved roads and the vigor of US Highway 123 rumbling through the heart of downtown. These improvements have been essential in the prosperity of the community, bringing in new businesses which has contributed to the debt to revenue ratio increasing 50 percent over the past 10 years.
However, everything is not perfect in Parker City. Children are often forced to walk on the side of the street or in the tall grass on their daily journey to and from school. Pedestrians, joggers and cyclists are often observed hugging the side of curbs to prevent them from being exposed to the numerous motor vehicles traveling down streets and highways during the peak hours of the day. In the past two years, there have been 12 motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists who have been struck while traveling, five of which resulted in fatalities this year alone. Such incidents have been attributed to the lack of paved sidewalks and cyclist lanes in Parker City, making pedestrian travel and cycling very cumbersome; most of all unsafe. Many of the aforementioned concerns have been voiced by helping professionals, families, and visitors of Parker City. Therefore, a proposal to construct paved sidewalks and cyclist lanes on the streets in Parker City will be beneficial to the community by increasing the property value throughout the community, establishing a manageable payment/ funding plan, and most importantly, providing safe passage of travel for pedestrians and cyclists who are venturing out to enjoy the pleasantries Parker City has to offer.
In order to implement such changes, a proposed community project must be well-planned, ethical, feasible, and beneficial for it to increase the property value throughout the community. Paved sidewalks are more appealing to the eyes and they promote community socialization. Sidewalks and cyclist lanes also promote healthy living by providing a safe passage for people to walk and cyclists to ride their bikes. Residents will be more inclined to reduce screen time and increase outdoor recreational activity. With such infrastructure, they are more likely to engage in physical activity, play, and shop, especially when such amenities ensure a safer environment. Homeowners will also benefit, as a significant increase in property value (approximately $700.00 per resident) due to the curb appeal will be provided by the introduction of paved sidewalks. New homes within the community with sidewalks will be purchased at a higher price rate and those who are selling property will benefit, as the presence of sidewalks decrease the time at which properties remain on the market increase selling value of the home.
Paved sidewalks and cyclist lanes are necessary amenities providing benefits to the entire community. However, this cannot take place without appropriate funding. Funding for this project will be generated from property/land taxes and community improvement state funding provided by the state of Iowa. In addition, estimated completion of this project will be approximately three years. Therefore, some funding allocated from the city budget to repair the city streets will be helpful in building the sidewalks and the cyclist lanes. City streets and roads can be repaired on an emergency basis, especially when it has been deemed a safety hazard. The remaining funds to support the project will be provided from state grants
Ensuring the safety of the community is paramount, and having well-constructed, well-maintained, and easily accessible sidewalks for our residents will assist in facilitating this opportunity for the community and achieving this goal. Paved sidewalks and cyclist lanes will provide pedestrians and cyclists designated paths of travel that will decrease the risk of exposure to street traffic. This, in relation to substantially lower rates of vehicular-on-pedestrian and vehicular-on-cyclist accidents, is the most important revelation regarding the purpose of this project. Warning signs and appropriate lighting will be required to limit or decrease the amount of injuries to those most vulnerable in the community (children and the elderly) and to alert those who are driving, by providing advanced warning when residents occupy sidewalks and cyclist lanes near busy intersections.
In conclusion, Parker City possesses charm and appeal like no other local city. With an array of vintage landmarks, Parker City has been a permanent destination for many families seeking a home to raise their children or a place to seek serenity in retirement. Community is always at the forefront of Parker City’s focus. This is why paved sidewalks and cyclist lanes are necessary amenities that will improve the standard of living for Parker City residents. These welcoming changes will be affordable with appropriate funding as described before, providing families with peace of mind through the establishment of safe passageways for pedestrians and cyclists, thereby protecting our most precious resources the elderly and the rich history passed on to us through them and our future generations.