Downtown Athen’s Sidewalks Pose Serious HazardsPosted: February 23, 2012
Michelle Baker struggled to open her blood covered eyes. She wiped the blood away and opened her eyes wide. Terrified, she looked up and saw her college boyfriend racing to help her up. Her horrified friends screamed at the top of their lungs as her boyfriend, Daniel, picked her up and carried her to his car. Michelle was out to celebrate the end of another semester of school in downtown Athens. As she walked out of her favorite bar, she stumbled over a loose brick surrounding a tree in the middle of the sidewalk. Michelle fell forward and busted her head open on the hard pavement. Thanks to her quick-thinking friends getting her safely to the hospital, she got the help she needed and is doing great now.
The streets of the downtown Athens area are full of possible hazards for the pedestrians that walk them, especially for the ones just out of the bars. From piles and piles of trash, fold-out advertisements from the local business, cracked and uneven sidewalks, potholes, and the loose and wobbly gas meter lids. Many of these do not sound all that dangerous, but for a girl out on a night on the town wearing her brand new high heels, they ruin the night and cause some serious injuries. These injuries can be anything from a broken or twisted ankle to a trip and a hard face-plant into the sidewalk.
Leah Gardner lifted her head up, and with a bright-red face, took a long look in both directions. She looked down Broad Street and College Avenue to make sure no one saw her embarrassing mishap. After she came to the realization that no one had seen her stumble on one of the many loose and wobbly gas meter lids, she let out a sigh of relief followed by a small chuckle. Okay and unharmed, but things could have been much worse.
“It really scared me; I mean I could have been seriously injured if I had not caught my balance at the last second. I really think something needs to be done about those gas meter lids,” Leah said, when asked about her trip near Five Guy’s Burgers and Fry’s in downtown Athens.
Curtis Harrison came out of his favorite Athens bar, Sideways. He walked out of the bar, past a nearby bag of garbage, and he heard a small splash. He looked down and saw an “ugly brown substance” all over his favorite pair of Nike shoes. Curtis, another pedestrian who had a mishap downtown, complained about the huge amounts of leaky trash bags that are laid out on the sidewalks at night. According to reports, restaurants in the downtown area were told by the sanitation department to quit using trash cans to put their garbage out, and to just put the trash out in the bags. This was due to the stench of the trash cans, but seemed to only cause a new safety hazard on the sidewalks of downtown. These trash bags will tear and leak the grease and other unsavory things into the street. These leaks create the scare of a slip if somebody was to step on them wrong. “I come here from Tennessee sometimes to hang out with some old high school friends who go to the University of Georgia. We have some of the same problems in Knoxville when we go out, the government really needs to do something about these hazards in the inner cities,” Curtis said.
According to reports, many businesses downtown have begun to use fold-up advertisement signs in order to bring in customers and inform them of deals and locations of their businesses. Many citizens have complained of these signs and the growing number of them in Athens, GA. In response to these complaints it has been said that banning the fold-up street signs would be unconstitutional and therefore the companies who set them out have the right to continue to do so.
Most people downtown are aware and careful to avoid these hazards and are just out to have a good time. However, for people who go out and have a little too much fun, these hazards have the ability to become very dangerous and could easily cause serious physical harm to someone. The gas meter lids along with some others that many cities have to deal with, such as; speeding traffic, broken curbs, etc. The tax payer’s money is collected to keep the tax payer’s streets and community clean and safe, and this should be done.