Walking to and from in Castro Valley on frequent occasions, I have been forced to confront the reality that many areas lack sufficient sidewalks. There is sometimes a long patch of dirt next to the road, or simply wide spaces beside the area where cars are driving, which both pose potential safety-related problems for pedestrians.
Students walking to and from school, children traveling to meet up with their friends, and people without access to cars commuting to bus stops all face inconveniences. Additional sidewalks should be added to Castro Valley in order to improve the overall quality of life for residents and promote healthy and environmental behavior.
Increasing the number of sidewalks in Castro Valley would add to the quality of life of many residents. People from varying backgrounds live in Castro Valley, and many do not have access to cars. Some cannot afford to travel by vehicle, while others are too young to drive but cannot always rely on parents for transportation. These people deserve the respect of being able to walk on sidewalks, away from the dirt and mud, when traveling.
Sidewalks would also encourage more people to walk and increase the number of pedestrians on the street. This would contribute to the number of people frequenting local businesses, as people on foot are more likely to notice shops than those racing by in cars. Adding sidewalks to Castro Valley’s streetscape would increase general well being.
Additional sidewalks would also promote healthier and more environmental practices among Castro Valley residents. People would be more likely to choose walking over driving if walking were a pleasant experience. It is difficult to see, however, why people who have access to cars would choose to walk in the mud and dirt next to ongoing traffic. Increasing the number of sidewalks would make the walk around Castro Valley more enjoyable and encourage more citizens to travel by foot, decreasing the amount of pollution, and fostering a more healthy and active lifestyle. Overall, sidewalks would reduce the amount of carbon emissions and encourage healthy behavior for Castro Valley residents.
Some may argue that the construction process needed to increase the number of sidewalks would be difficult and disruptive. Adding sidewalks to all parts of Castro Valley could disturb private property. However, there are many areas where there are patches of dirt on the side of the road which are roughly the same shape as sidewalks. It would be relatively inexpensive, quick, and easy to add concrete to these spaces in order to improve the lives of those living and working in Castro Valley.
In a period when most people rely on vehicles for transportation, it can be difficult to consider those who commute by foot. It is important, however, that those without the all access to cars have reasonable infrastructure to accommodate them, and that more people step outside their cars to become mobile and reduce pollution. Adding sidewalks to Castro Valley’s streetscape would be an overall improvement.