It Just Might Work: Sidewalks on Yanceyville Street

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by Brian Clarey

I live off of Yanceyville Street in northeast Greensboro — not the nice part that winds through the Aycock Historical District past the old ballpark, and not the rural stretch that crosses Lake Townsend to the north. My portion of Yanceyville Street, from Pisgah Church Road to the Wendover Avenue overpass, is distinguished by mill homes, low-income housing, a dying strip mall and a pronounced lack of sidewalks.

Which is crazy, because there are more pedestrians on this stretch of Yanceyville than any other.

I see them every day: kids walking to and from the school bus, teens riding bikes tight along the curb, young mothers pushing strollers as the cars whiz by. There are four city bus stops along this piece of road, with no sidewalks connecting them to anything, and lots of people without cars who walk to them along the thin shoulder of the street.

I’m surprised more people don’t get hit by cars walking along this portion of Yanceyville. But plenty of them do. The last fatal crash I remember was in 2012, when a 53-year-old pedestrian was run down by someone driving a late-model Hyundai.

By my count, I’ve come close to committing vehicular manslaughter a dozen times since I moved to this neighborhood 12 years ago. Since then I’ve seen new sidewalks come in all over town — in 2011, city council pledged to create 350 miles of new sidewalks. I saw them rip up a pretty good sidewalk on Cornwallis Drive and replace it with a brand new one. Friendly Avenue and Lawndale Drive got new sidewalks. Even the greenway I run on got a new pouring of concrete. But still nothing for this part of Yanceyville.

I have spoken about this with Jamal Fox, who represents this stretch of sidewalk-less road in District 2, and to Jim Kee before him, and to Goldie Wells before that, all of whom assured me that my neighborhood would soon be getting sidewalks.

But as of today, still no dice.

Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan mentioned sidewalks last week as part of a possible new bond referendum, but I have little faith that my neighborhood will rate very high on that list.

Regardless, I think sidewalks just might work on Yanceyville Street. They seem to be working fine everywhere else.