Gravel sidewalks not right for Ravenswood
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sidewalks at the Riverfront Park in Ravenswood are crumbling underfoot, and city leaders want to fix the problem. Sidewalks are cracked and disintegrating, creating a hazard for pedestrians as well as an eyesore. A spokesman for the Ravenswood Development Authority recently announced that his organization will remove all concrete sidewalks and install new gravel sidewalks. You read that right. New 60-inch-wide gravel sidewalks.
Sidewalks serve a critical need and fundamental services for the public and should be designed to meet the needs of the widest possible range of users.
Accessible sidewalks enrich the entire community's quality of life on many levels. People with disabilities are better able to participate in the community if accessible facilities are available because it is easier for them to reach their destinations. Accessible sidewalks are cost-effective because they promote independence for people and reduce the need for social services.
People using walkers tend to slide more than lift, which is difficult on an uneven surface. Walkers with wheels work no better. Their small wheels catch easily on any irregularity. After a few freeze-thaw cycles stones break away adding small craters next to protruding pebbles. These surface irregularities challenge pedestrians dependent on mechanical assistance.
Generally, people who have difficulty walking or maintaining balance or who use crutches, canes, or walkers, and those with restricted gaits are particularly sensitive to slipping and tripping hazards. For such people, a stable and regular surface is necessary for safe walking.
Invasive plants spoil state's beauty
I grew up in the South Hills area of Charleston and return home to visit my family who still live in the area.
On a recent trip I took a walk through my old neighborhood and was distressed to see so many trees covered in English ivy. The number of invasive plants crowding out the beautiful native plants was terrible.
Ivy will deprive a tree of sunlight, killing the leaves and suffocating the tree. It will draw nutrients from the ground that would normally feed the trees. Robbed of nutrients and light, the trees die. Bamboo, periwinkle, arch angel, pachysandra and kudzu were everywhere. Without intervention, the woods I loved as a child will be forever destroyed.
I would encourage anyone who has trees covered in vines and whose yard plants have crept into the woods, to immediately act. Save your trees and the woods!
Without help, the once beautiful hills of West Virginia will be wild no more, but filled with dead trees and non-native plants.