Frederick’s downtown sidewalks are hazardous and generally impassable. I absolutely agree with Don DeArmon’s column and observations that the restaurants and other storefront businesses have turned what once was a pedestrian-friendly town into a nightmare. (Downtown Frederick Partnership has spoken. We must obey, July 2)

Under the umbrella of COVID, which is increasingly behind us, we find that Frederick sidewalks and streets have been taken over by businesses encroaching on the limited space assigned to car parking and walkers. It seems like it will go on forever.

Mr. DeArmon is pointing out what is obvious to anyone attempting to navigate the two or three block area along Market Street. However, he omitted the struggle of the handicapped individuals who are essentially blocked out of access to parts of the downtown.

Despite the warbling of the golden-throated explainers who say this problem doesn’t exist, I challenge any one of them to engage a walker or cane and try to navigate these restaurant-cluttered sidewalks. In my own case, one or two times I have tripped and suddenly joined a group of diners eating lunch on the sidewalk or street. (The salads looked delicious.)

Many of the people who are running for Frederick mayor or alderman are searching for issues to present to the voters. The impassable sidewalks are staring them right in the face. We don’t need to let another contract to study this, we need elected officials to do something now! So far, they have failed us and many of us cannot visit the downtown for fear of injuring ourselves and maybe others when we fall.

Jerry Miller


(4) comments

Greg F

Make downtown one lane, with limited drop-off or pickup pots and no parking. Make it like Dtdte Street in Madison, WI where only taxis and busses are allowed and find a way to get rid of the bottleneck on Shan row area. With 15 as a nightmare of a north south rite out, widen that so some of the downtown traffic can actually benefit from a faster 15. I do t. Other with 15 as half the time it crawls or is full if crazies don’t tailgating.


Bravo Mr. Miller - sidewalks are a transportation resource that should be owned and operated by the respective county or municipality. In days gone by, sidewalks were considered by government as an amenity to the private property owner, I cant think of the last time I wanted to get somewhere I only had to walk 50'.


I am the opposite of mobility challenged. I am in my 70s but still walk a lot, so having to walk over 50' is something I do all the time. The "cafes" present challenges to me too but not as much as if I used a cane (which I sometimes do when knees are acting up) or a wheelchair. Yes, there's a problem if you have mobility issues but I suspect the colder weather will do away with the sidewalk "cafes" if they are not gone before then. They helped keep these businesses in business through a very rough time for restaurants, though. Without them, we might be looking at empty storefronts instead of navigating the "cafes."


I wouldn’t say “impassable,” but “passable with dignity” as a goal can be elusive. Until Sept 2020 I always prided myself on my walking agility and did a lot of it all over - the Great Wall was more a challenge because of the 116 degree heat in July - I walked downtown daily with a daughter at Visitation, or going to Mass, sometimes tripping, no big deal. I advocated for seniors to continue climbing stairs, don’t avoid them, then I fell down mine. I had tripped on them before but this time I was carrying things, broke my ankle and leg, had surgery, got screws and wire and other metal, totally off it 3 months then therapy for months and yes I am walking and still exercising at home, but venturing onto uneven bricks, yeah, no. Carefully walking the short distance to the backyard birdfeeder yesterday an unseen depression twisted my foot just slightly, it hurt, I regained my balance and continued since it was closer than turning around. I am not disabled, just not sure-footed, so more likely to frequent places where I am less likely to trip and/or suddenly need to grab at something for balance. Because sometimes it is nothing more than an unexpected jolt of pain for no apparent reason. I’m coming out now. But not anywhere I could knock over a row of strangers like Dominoes.

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