A plan to remove or improve sections of sidewalk in the village of Saranac Lake met with measured criticism during a public hearing earlier this week.
Several people asked that sections of sidewalk slated for removal be improved rather than torn up, while some questioned the wisdom of removing sidewalks in general.
Phil Gallos is a village resident who lives on Baker Street. He said sidewalk removal runs against the grain of trends toward more walkable communities.
Gallos believes some sidewalks have fallen into disuse because they are in such bad shape.
"It might take a while to retrain folks to use sidewalks, but removing them is not a good option at a time when towns and villages all over the country are promoting themselves as walkable communities," he said.
Lake Street resident Mark Wilson agreed.
"Any sidewalk is an advertisement for walking," he said, noting that sidewalks on both sides of a street that are slated for removal are not redundant because they connect neighbors and businesses.
Other critiques were more specific. Marsha Morgan, a resident on Clinton Avenue, said she wants a sidewalk on her street to remain because it's in good shape and promotes a sense of community in her neighborhood.
During Monday evening's meeting, several other villagers chimed in with similar refrains.
Village Mayor Clyde Rabideau emphasized that the list was not "set in concrete." He and other trustees agreed to take another drive through the village before solidifying any plan to remove sidewalks.=