Namely, members of the Southside Slopes Neighborhood Association, who take charge of their steps. In the top photo, a group of residents paint the railings along the Eleanor Street steps. In the photo at left, the Cologne Street steps have been closed since October, said Adam Jette, a resident who volunteers for Step Trek.
The city has 716 sets of hillside steps to maintain, and anyone who regularly uses them knows that the city doesn’t have enough people or money to make step maintenance a priority.
Bob Regan, the “father” of the annual Step Trek event in the Slopes, said that since many sets of steps are officially streets on city maps the city should regard them as streets. “Their maintenance should be considered street maintenance,” he said.
In a perfect world, Walkabout agrees. Even in our current situation, it would be sweet to see the city take infrastructure action that favors people who ambulate.
But the city really does have to make the kinds of decisions that struggling families do: pay the mortgage or go without heat, eat ramen and cat food to pay the water bill. When people carp about how the city doesn't do this and doesn't do that, I wonder whether they're the same people whose hackles shoot north at the idea of paying more taxes.
I wonder whether some of them actually live in the city.
Slopes residents say Public Works has responded pretty well to their 311 calls when steps are in disrepair, but it's good to know there are people out there who are doing it for themselves.
In time for this year's Step Trek on Oct. 5, maybe the city could get those steps repaired so people can walk them.
Our city’s abundance of hillside steps — we top all cities in number — are more charming than streets and more historic since the original ones predated paved roads. Most important, they're a necessity for many people.
Honor the walker.
Photos by Adam Jette
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