What Happened to the Austin Pedestrian Plan?

RECEIVED Wed., July 2, 2008

Dear Editor,
    Here's a great idea Austin can steal from Philadelphia: sidewalks on both sides of the street. But is Austin ready for such a radical change?
    A few weeks ago, the Chronicle covered the 10th anniversary of the Austin Bicycle Plan [“The Revolution Will Not Be Motorized,” News, May 9]. Whatever happened to the Austin Pedestrian Plan of the same vintage? Perhaps pedestrians will need to start our own Critical Mass before anything will be done to improve our situation.
    A second pedestrian (in less than two years) was recently run over and killed on Lamar near T&S Seafood. The police say that pedestrians should not cross in midblock. But when you try to cross a busy street at a light on foot, cars keep turning right in front of you. If the cars won't yield to you, then you just can't cross.
    The name Critical Mass refers to the number of pedestrians that need to band together to walk across a busy street in China.
    I hope that the Austin Pedestrian Plan, when unearthed, will provide answers to a few puzzling questions. On a street without sidewalks, with xeriscaped curbsides and parked cars lining the curb, where are pedestrians supposed to walk? Do pedestrians in Austin have any rights at all? If so, what are they? In what year is the sidewalk and crosswalk system scheduled for completion?
    Austin's motor vehicles kill more than 20 pedestrians per year, and hospitalize at least 10 times that many. How many of the motorists who hit pedestrians get tickets?
    It may be time for a pedestrian Critical Mass, just to remind Austin that pedestrians exist.
Yours truly,
Amy Babich
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