Finally, someone is looking at the sidewalks!

How many times have you been walking somewhere when the sidewalk suddenly ends and your only options are walking on a busy road or walking through an unkempt field? Even Google is guilty of providing walking routes to people without taking into account whether sidewalks actually exist on those roads. Well, someone is finally starting to recognize that usable sidewalks matter and can spur economic development. AMATS (Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study) is compiling a comprehensive map of the region's sidewalks.  You can view the most up-to-date list at

An article Sidewalks are strolling to forefront discusses AMATS' project and how sidewalks contribute to sustainable development.

Even relatively short sidewalks can be attractive to people who don't want their kids walking to a neighbor's house in the street. But linking scattered stretches certainly makes sense — assuming the money is there.

''We're not talking millions of dollars,'' Baker says, ''but maybe there are missing links, places where $100,000 could make important connections, especially in those heavily used commercial corridors.''