Home > Announcement, Representing, Walking > Needed: Social Trail Sightings

Needed: Social Trail Sightings

Spotting Social Trails

Social trail along Fair St. looking north towards NMC’s entrance.

This social trail caught my eye for the little bend towards the road. On this busy neighborhood street, most people are resistant to walk in what we assume are people’s front yards. So, they take to the streets. However, just because there is no sidewalk present doesn’t mean that the public right of way doesn’t exist. On a busier street, the view south at this point would still have a social trail as people would refuse to walk in the street. South to 8th Street there is no sidewalk.

The view south. Nice lawns, but it remains the public right of way.

This sidewalk is obviously well-traveled. The school, restaurant, church and civic center are all attractions. What we aren’t seeing when we accept this lack of infrastructure is the inequality that it promotes. Imagine traversing this with crutches, a wheel chair, as an 8 or 80-year-old. Or, with your shoes tied together. Then, going the rest of the way to 8th Street along the street. In this case, it’s not what makes for a walkable city.

The adjacent property owners may not initially like it, but this goes on my ‘priority sidewalk‘ list.


ATTENTION: Are you seeing social trails in Traverse City? The city engineer is currently collecting data on the existing sidewalk network (or lack thereof) and has asked for help in spotting social trails. The social trails will help prioritize where the city constructs sidewalks for the coming decade. I’ve started to collect some (Flickr photo Set) and have written about a few, but I know there are more out there. If you want to send comment with a location, I will get an image and send it on to the city engineer. Or, send an image and description to him and the city planner directly (copy MyWHaT as well so we can keep a running list).

It should be noted, the criteria for prioritization will also consider the size and volumes of streets and whether the proposed sidewalk would fill a missing link, not just social trail placement.

sidewalks won’

Happy spotting and shooting.

  1. Tracey Kukla-Aleshire
    August 30, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    There is a little trail on Eastern Ave. between Milliken and the light at M37. This is a single rut trail (created by bikes) because the sidewalk ends at Milliken. This little trail is flanked by thick plant life and is pretty tricky to maneuver with a jog stroller. There is a huge need for an easy, family/kid friendly crossing from the East side neighborhoods to the downtown area. Right now they are virtually cut off. If more input is needed/wanted they are welcome to contact me directly.
    Thanks, Gary!

  2. August 31, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Thank you, Tracey. Good eye and yes, connecting east to central part of town is a worthy project.

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