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Get those wheels off the Springville sidewalks

SPRINGVILLE — They almost got me. Not knowing what treacherous places Main Street sidewalks could be, I was taking advantage of a beautiful day by walking to the bank. On my return trip, I stepped out next to the Carolsel to walk across the crosswalk and was nearly mowed down by a bicyclist going much too fast.

“Look out!” the young boy yelled, in an exasperated tone, before careening across the crosswalk ahead of me and disappearing down the other side of the street.

Guess what, bike rider? I am not the one who needs to be looking out.

As of Aug. 19, all vehicles, including those that are self-propelled (such as bicycles) and those that are motorized (like scooters) are prohibited from the sidewalks on Main Street, between Buffalo Street and Elk Street.

That means those bicycles or skateboards that go whizzing by you, threatening to knock you over or run over your toes, are being more than a nuisance.

A lot of people in Springville, young kids especially, have either not been informed of this new law or are intentionally ignoring it. Either way, I hope that our law enforcement steps it up to ensure that the word gets out and that these vehicles are kept away from the sidewalks that are now exclusively reserved for pedestrians.

We received an anonymous letter to the editor about this very subject, just the other day. The writer asked if the law applied to the “riding mowers with the trailer that waters the flowers on Main Street? How about motorized wheelchair [sic] for the handicap people and elderly people with motorized wheelchair [and] how about the Bobcat that plows the sidewalks.”

While the Journal does not print anonymous letters to the editor, I was happy to look into this individual’s query.

Village Administrator Tim Horner told me that emergency vehicles like the Bobcats that clear sidewalks of snow are excluded from the new law. That makes sense, because we all want snow-free sidewalks.

Other exceptions include vehicles for children 10 and younger, such as strollers, and items utilized by disabled persons, like the aforementioned wheelchairs.

Horner said that this new law was enacted because of the speed at which bicyclists or skateboarders fly down village sidewalks. In fact, he called the skateboard the “real culprit.”

He added that the village board is attempting to head off potential collisions that could occur when people step onto the sidewalk from inside or next to Main Street businesses. Skateboarders and bicyclists could attempt to avoid those pedestrians and veer into the street, putting themselves and drivers at risk.

The vehicle the Springville Area Chamber of Commerce uses to water the Main Street flower baskets hardly drives at a high rate of speed and is not at all comparable to bikes or skateboards.

“We would not prevent the chamber from watering the flowers or people from using a wheelchair or stroller,” Horner said. “This is an issue of safety.”

I was surprised to find that this is not really a new law. According to Horner, it has been against the law to “coast on any sidewalks in Springville” for quite some time. Because that law had not really been enforced, the village board decided to ban vehicles from sidewalks in the downtown shopping area, which has been determined to be the most at risk.

I fully agree with the village board’s decision to ban vehicles from the walkways in the busiest part of Main Street. Springville has united to give its downtown consumers a great shopping experience, and the village board is supporting that endeavor by giving those customers a safe environment to enjoy.

Check out the bike trails at Sprague Brook Park, ride around the farther expanses of the village or explore Zoar Valley and Colden Lake. Just keep the vehicles off our sidewalks and out of our hair.

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