Suburban Officials Try To Build Sidewalks Amid Local Opposition

<p>Facing residential opposition, city officials in suburban Minneapolis are having trouble getting sidewalks built in many neighborhoods. The residents argue that sidewalks are not needed in the suburbs.</p>
August 21, 2007, 8am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Retrofitting suburbs with sidewalks is generating debate in some cities around the metro. Aiming to create a safe place to walk and link neighborhoods with parks and shopping areas, some suburban officials are instead encountering resistant homeowners who view sidewalks as an encroachment on privacy and pristine lawns."

"The result? The installation of sidewalks has become one of the hardest things on some city officials' to-do lists."

"While sidewalks have come back into fashion in some 'new urbanist' developments, Kevin Frazell, a former city administrator who now works for the League of Minnesota Cities said, 'When you take yard space away from people, they're unpopular.' And they grow more unpopular, he said, when strangers begin walking by on what was previously 'private space.'"

"Fans of sidewalks say they're symbolic of community, leading to encounters with neighbors, promoting safety and motivating people to get out of their cars and walk."

"Cities grappling with the sidewalk issue include Edina, Excelsior and Golden Valley -- older suburbs where many developers left them out on purpose."

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Published on Saturday, August 18, 2007 in Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune
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