2000 Vision - Bill Jordon

AN EMERGING VISION FOR THE CORRIDOR

By Bill Jordan

Since the summer of 1999 a number of people from the Dudgeon-Monroe area and also from other neighborhoods up and down the line have been getting together on a semi-formal basis to discuss prospects for development of the new bike/pedestrian path as a way of enhancing the quality of life in our community. We recognize that many who live along the corridor are concerned about issues of privacy, safety and maintenance. In fact, many of those who have participated in these discussions live along the corridor and share these concerns.

At the same time, we feel that the corridor offers a tremendous opportunity for the neighborhood because it will provide something wonderfully new--that is, a pathway through the neighborhood that links neighbors, links the neighborhood with other neighborhoods and links us all with nature in a way that streets and even sidewalks cannot.

We know there may be problems. But we also know that in other areas where rail corridors have been converted for pedestrian and bicycle use, these problems have generally not been as serious as people had feared they might be. As the experience of other communities shows, concerns about security in particular have often given way to the realization that sensible public use of an area offers one of the best guarantees of safety from crime and vandalism.

Beyond that we see many opportunities. We know that realizing these opportunities will depend to some extent on the participation of those who live on or near the corridor, as well as those who use it. But we see that as just another plus--a chance to bring the neighborhood together through a joint enterprise in behalf of the cultural commons.

With this in mind, we have begun to formulate a vision for the corridor--one we do not consider finished or complete, but rather a rough draft for consideration and further discussion as the conversion of the corridor is completed and its development as a neighborhood resource begins.

We foresee the development of a special support group--a Friends of the Corridor--to identify possibilities for development and use of the corridor and to encourage and promote their realization. Its mission will be:

To foster development of a culture in the neighborhoods along the bike/pedestrian corridor that supports development of the corridor for environmental quality, beauty and neighborliness, both for those who live along the corridor and for those who use it.

An overall aim, as we see it, is to foster a sense of community along the bike/pedestrian corridor, with due regard for plants and animals as well as for the human community--a sense of the cultural commons that includes goldfinches and walnut trees as well as people.

We also note that this is not a new idea for the corridor. Instead, we see this project as an extension of projects like the one that Maggie Jungwirth and her volunteers have been working on in Glenwood Children's Park at the Glenway Avenue crossing.