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Maryland Suburb Fights Sidewalks

The DC metropolitan area has a largely suburban character inherited from an era when cars were the only conceivable form of transportation. Efforts to expand sidewalk infrastructure are meeting resistance, especially in University Hill.

Hyattsville, Md. is a city of three square miles and 17,700 residents. It has attracted $1.8 billion in investments with more than 1,200 new housing units since 2005. It has a vibrant town center and Metro access, recounts Luz Lazo.

However, pedestrians wanting to walk to public transit or amenities currently share the road with automobiles and bikers in some areas.

Efforts to build new sidewalks have met resistance, particularly in the University Hills neighborhood, home to 350 households and largely wed to its suburban character.

Opponents of the sidewalk plan, which could go into effect as early as next year, have signed petitions detailing their concerns, including the narrowing of streets, reduction in available parking space and cost to taxpayers. Some simply do not want the increased foot traffic outside their properties.

The District of Columbia experienced similar protests to its plan to build more than 200 miles of sidewalks, which went into effect in 2010.

Full Story: Push for sidewalks in Htattsville faces resistance in one neighborhood

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