A roomful of citizens got the response they wanted when they showed up at last week's Columbia County Commission meeting to beseech county officials to build a sidewalk on Mullikin Road in Evans.
Their appeal is undeniably strong, fueled by emotion with the recent death of a school teacher struck by a vehicle while walking on the side of the road.
And their case is good, too, that sidewalks along the curving road are needed for children to walk to the two schools along the route.
But in fairness, if Columbia County commissioners spend a dime to build sidewalks on Mullikin Road without also building them along, say, Blue Ridge Drive, they ought to be considered criminally negligent.
• Mullikin has two schools, one just a couple of years old. Blue Ridge has three schools, the oldest more than 20 years old - so the problems there have been ignored far longer.
• Mullikin Road winds past seven neighborhoods. Blue Ridge, with sharper curves and multiple rolling hills, twists its way past multiple neighborhoods and several apartment complexes, with new ones under construction.
• Mullikin is a dead end, fed along its route only by subdivision streets. Blue Ridge is a connector from Evans-to-Locks to Old Evans Road, intersects busy Clark Drive, and has commercial developments at both ends.
• Mullikin Road actually has sidewalks on a portion of it, connecting three of the larger neighborhoods to River Ridge Elementary. Blue Ridge Drive has sidewalks that run about a block in each direction from the entrance of Lakeside Middle and High schools - but almost like a cruel joke, those sidewalks stop before they run past a single front door of a home.
Sidewalks clearly are more needed along Blue Ridge Drive. But Mullikin Road's project has a trump card: Christian Giles' awful death in July.
Unquestionably, sidewalks connecting schools to neighborhoods are a good idea, and Columbia County badly needs more pedestrian friendliness in general. The Evans-to-Locks Road bike path was an outstanding start, but it's a dead end - coincidentally, before it reaches Blue Ridge Drive.
At least commissioners can't be accused of a lack of responsiveness. They've caved in equally to the squeakiest wheels. Commissioners also backed off a proposal to extend the Euchee Creek trail system after small, yet vocal, not-in-my-back-yard opposition.
It would be nice if all citizens were as ouspoken as those homeowners, or as energized as the Mullikin Road residents who could see their new $575,000 sidewalk under construction by early next year - while children on Blue Ridge Drive, or Flowing Wells Road, or Gibbs Road, or any number of far-busier county streets continue to trek along the shoulder of the road to get to their schools.
Hopefully, no other pedestrians will have to die before those sidewalks get some attention, too.
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