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Sidewalk wars: Proposal creating 'organized chaos' in Edina

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A proposal to add sidewalks throughout Edina, including along many residential streets, has led to a battle between neighbors.

City officials have proposed a detailed plan to add walkways to heavily traveled streets over the next 20-30 years at the request of residents in its quality of life surveys – but the plan is being met with heated resistance from many in the affluent suburb.

Russ Thompson, an Edina resident, told the Sun Current the proposal will create "organized chaos" and "will pit neighbors against each other."

Supporters want the sidewalks to make streets friendlier to bikers and walkers, and the city supports this plan in hopes of attracting millennials, the Star Tribune reports.

"Sidewalks and minor traffic calming modifications will slow speeding traffic and make it safer and more comfortable for pedestrians," William David wrote in a comment on the plan online.

However, many longtime residents have a laundry list of reasons why they oppose sidewalks, saying they'll lose part of their yard, which will disrupt landscaping and could lower property value, according to online comments on the plan. They are also concerned about who will shovel the sidewalk, the liabilities if someone fell and potential property tax effects, the Sun Current says.

“We have a beautiful, natural neighborhood and now they want to citify it, make it like Minneapolis,” Grace McNeill, who has lived in Edina for 41 years, told the Star Tribune.

Many residents made it a point to say much of the city has lived without sidewalks for decades and they've been fine, so they don't need to add them now, reports note.

The city held public meetings this week on the citywide sidewalk network map, and for the most part people who attended were against the sidewalks. Residents also commented on the plan online; those were mostly in favor of the proposal.

The city plans to vote on the proposal in December.

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