Dear City Planning and Development Department,

Attn: Office of Planning and Improvements

Yesterday, my daughter and I decided to walk to the Target, which is at the corner of [redacted] and [redacted]. In our attempt to do so, it became quite clear that life as a pedestrian is quite challenging in some areas. On our walk, we discovered that there are some major sections of sidewalk that are missing and/or never existed in the first place.

This happened in more than one spot along our route, but it was most inconvenient to realize this occurrence in a section where there is no logical way to proceed. I’m sure I provided some entertainment for the passing motorists who got to witness the spectacle of me hauling a stroller (complete with strapped-in toddler occupant) over the wonderfully aesthetically pleasing river-rock display at the corner of [redacted] and [redacted], where a sidewalk to the crosswalk should be.

How did I end up there? Why choose this route if there is no way to get to the crosswalk? Well, from the other end of that stretch of street, it appears to be passable. I mean, why did you build a brand new sidewalk at the corner of [redacted] and [redacted] only to stop it before it reaches the next major street? The existence of said sidewalk leads the general public to believe that there is indeed a safe and convenient way to walk to the other street from there. There is, in fact, not.

Similarly, why did you install a fire-hydrant AND a telephone (cable?) junction box in the middle of the crosswalk ramp at [redacted] and [redacted]? Walking out in the street to avoid them seems a bit dangerous; don’t you think? What’s the point of making such a nice ramp for the crosswalk if pedestrians with strollers are unable to use it?

Earlier in the week, my daughter and I walked to the [grocery store] a couple of times, and my husband joined us in a trek to the [restaurant]. The sidewalks to and from both of these locations were well-maintained, with helpful crosswalk ramps in every intersection. There were no dangerous obstacles in our path.

What in the world happened to the streets on the way to Target?

And, speaking of Target, I realize you have no control over property that may in fact belong to Target, so I will refrain from complaining to you about the complete lack of sidewalks near their store. There isn’t a single one, and I can’t figure out their reasoning. I know; I didn’t believe it until I saw it either.

So, in closing, my daughter and I appreciate the fact that some of the sidewalks in our little city are maintained and logical. Prior to our trek to Target, I was under the impression that the City actually cared for its pedestrians. However, I question that sentiment now. We are frustrated with the sidewalk and crosswalk situation in the half-mile radius of the Target, and it leaves me to believe that no pedestrians were consulted in these “improvements.”

We are adventurous, and I am quick on my feet, so this won’t be the last time we venture to different locations in our city on foot. I refuse to let something like this hinder our outings, but I may rethink our trips to this particular Target. Even though Target is approximately a mile from our house, if the safest, most feasible way to get to a Target is via car, I may as well save up the things on my list and drive to the SuperTarget in that little city just a few minutes north of us. They almost always carry everything I need, and I’m sure they’d be happy to add my monetary contribution to their city coffers.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.

A concerned tax paying pedestrian and stroller-pusher,


2 Responses to “Dear City Planning and Development Department,”

  • Many stores like WalMart and Target and Supermarkets and Big Box stores, when they’re building the store make a point of positioning the store so that it’s as inaccessible to pedestrians as possible. They build next to a highway without sidewalks, they’re way off the road behind a giant parking lot, they fence off as much of the surrounding area as possible so that walking there is a major excursion. This is not paranoia on my behalf, this is an actual marketing strategy. They don’t want pedestrians in their stores. Pedestrians can’t buy enough because they have no way of transporting large or numerous purchases. Pedestrians just waste everyone’s time, use the toilets, buy some piddly little thing and leave. So, it’s very possible that Target deliberately has abysmal sidewalks surrounding it whether they’re directly responsible for their upkeep or not.

  • Sad. Very sad. In this day of escalating gas prices, it’s even sadder to have a city that’s unsupportive of its pedestrians, and likely its bikers as well.

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