Walk on the wild side

After years of not requiring sidewalks, cities are playing catch-up â?? and Jefferson City is among them.

People walking on pavement or yards to reach their destinations are not an uncommon sight in the capital city. It didn't used to matter that much, but these days, citizens are more in tune to walking and riding bikes, so the city adopted a sidewalk requirement for new developments.

Some residents in older neighborhoods said they didn't want to pay for other people's new sidewalks while theirs were in bad shape.

The city sidewalk requirement has at times led to some complaints from developers and businesses, and a program of variances and deferrals was developed. It still brings occasional problems over who can be exempt .

On Elmerine Avenue and Vineyard Square, residents signed a petition to take advantage of a neighborhood improvement program where they shared 11 percent of the cost with the city. Now, they're meeting new neighbors.

Another street in the area, Moreland Avenue, will be getting new sidewalks next year.

City officials point to the progress, especially along Southwest Boulevard, a street that had bus stops but no sidewalks to get to them.

Little by little, new concrete is showing up in many capital city neighborhoods.

Bray said new sidewalks change the look of a neighborhood and make it more inviting. He said it's part of Jefferson City's need to attract more young residents.

Some thoroughfares in town have neither sidewalks nor adequate shoulders, and for traveling there, it could still be a walk on the wild side.