Safe walking

Congratulations to Heart of Ellsworth, the city’s downtown booster/advocate, for drawing a good size crowd on a chilly Wednesday to talk about local needs.

The 40 residents present at the Jan. 24 gathering spoke of senior housing, bus service, recycling, waterfront access and child care, among other topics.

The presence of City Council Chairman Marc Blanchette and Councilor Gary Fortier, City Manager David Cole and Development Director Micki Sumpter were encouraging signs that the city of Ellsworth is listening.

The one issue that may not have enjoyed the quality of listening it deserved was walkability. Though the city has made strides (pun intended) in making Ellsworth more walkable, there are many streets, roads and avenues that fall short of being safe for strolling. Shore Road and Union Street past the hospital, for example, have walk-appeal but no sidewalks. Mayor Blanchette, who walks seven miles a day, said he’s “never had a problem” with walkability. Perhaps that’s because he doesn’t mind sharing the road with an automobile or truck.

It’s possible the number of residents who spoke up on the subject of safe, outdoor walking areas had sidewalks in mind. It’s worth finding out.

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