Eastern Wake: Opinion

Editorial: A blueprint for making Wendell friendlier to walkers

The town of Wendell is in the early stages of creating a pedestrian plan that would guide the construction and improvement of sidewalks, crosswalks and greenways throughout the town.

You may view this as just another government plan that looks nice on paper but doesn’t translate to real improvements that benefit taxpayers. Indeed, implementation of whatever plan is created may well be the most difficult part of the entire process.

But without the plan, you can bet Wendell’s approach to these matters would be of the scattershot variety.

So what should the plan look like? We’re glad you asked. (And, town planners are asking for your input, too, by the way.)

The town has worked steadily, but slowly, to address problems with compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. But many sidewalks around town are crumbling and in need of repair. And many places that would benefit from a sidewalk remain without.

Wendell’s downtown is a remarkably cute place to spend time and the sidewalks there have been remade in recent years. But the next step needs to be extending a spider’s web of sidewalks that extend out into other parts of town to make it practical to access downtown on foot.

And Wendell Boulevard, while it is an important east-west connector, remains very much a barrier between the north side of town and the south side.

Building just a handful of signaled intersections along Wendell Boulevard would make it much safer to get, say, to Wendell Elementary School or to downtown from the north side of the street. A safe crosswalk at the intersection of Marshburn Road and Wendell Boulevard would provide key access to disparate parts of town.

Left out of this discussion is the need for greenway planning. There are those who would like to see Wendell construct greenways that connect Wendell Park to Wendell Falls or onward toward Knightdale and Raleigh.

That’s important, but we would argue that making improvements for mobility within the town limits should probably be at the top of the town’s priority list for now. Greenways, important as they are, should come later.