Cracks in the system — staff editorial

These days, walking across campus has turned into quite an ordeal. With torn-up sidewalks in many parts of Foggy Bottom, streets have been made narrower, posing safety risks for pedestrians and motorists.

The root of the problem is that the city is fixing many of the neighborhood’s sidewalks at the same time. City authorities should have phased in the repairs over an extended period of time. Instead of completing sidewalk renovations over a few years, perhaps a 10-year repair plan would have been more reasonable. Working on one sidewalk project at a time would make walking across campus much easier.

Compounding the problem is GW’s seemingly ubiquitous construction, which makes nearby sidewalks impassible. Large fences block sidewalks and pedestrians are often forced to cross the street several times before reaching their destinations. Those who choose to jaywalk risk getting hit by passing motorists or causing an accident. Moreover, the deafening sound of construction adds to the danger of the situation.

In some Foggy Bottom locations both sides of the sidewalk are blocked, making safe passage nearly impossible. In other places pedestrians are forced to cross the street where there is no crosswalk or walk dangerously on the edge of the street. University officials could consider placing crossing guards at especially dangerous areas at busy times of the day.

Almost nothing can be done about the situation. But in the future city officials and the GW administration should coordinate sidewalk repair and construction projects.

The bottom line is that Foggy Bottom’s sidewalks should be repaired over an extended period of time, not simultaneously. By closing so many sidewalks, pedestrians face an unnecessary hazard because of poor planning.

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