Letter: Spend money on streets, not sidewalks

Robert Nassif

The city plans to gut 34th Street to construct a six-foot-wide sidewalk. The first stage involves installing a sidewalk starting at the Cedar Valley Christian School and ending 500 feet later at an entrance to Bever Park.

The sidewalk requires massive excavation of land, cutting down an acre and a half of old-growth trees, leveling hills and building retaining walls at extravagant expense.

The plan also involves temporarily painting bike and pedestrian lanes on the remainder of 34th Street, then installing permanent sidewalks in the future, requiring further devastation of private property.

But, why? 34th Street has about two pedestrians a day and perhaps one bicyclist a month. The justification for this project offered by city officials at the unveiling was, “Well, if we build the sidewalk someone might use it.”

What all this proves is that the city could fully accomplish their goals while staying within the current width of the street — without constructing a sidewalk that destroys our neighborhood and our homes.

This situation is deeply, profoundly unjust. The city is forcing on us a sidewalk that is unneeded and unwanted.

Our city streets are in ruins. They are rutted, crumbling and dangerous. I am embarrassed to have out-of-town visitors. My message to the city government is: Don’t waste taxpayer money on grand social-engineering schemes. Fix the streets. Fix the streets. Fix the streets.

Robert Nassif

Cedar Rapids

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