Outdoorsy ones want sidewalks

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — While Naples town officials might like the idea of having more sidewalks in town, residents who walk Route 35 during the winter will have to settle for having the snowbanks pushed back a little farther.

And, even that solution is a maybe rather than a promise.

During a Naples Board of Selectmen meeting on Nov. 2, a trio of health-conscious women who like to get a side of fresh air with their exercise asked about the possibility of the town putting in sidewalks on Route 35, also known as Harrison Road.

“We are outdoor enthusiasts. It is challenging trying to walk along Route 35,” the Naples resident said.

She requested that the board look into the installation of sidewalks on both sides of Route 35. Not only would sidewalks create connectivity to the Causeway but also it would allow others to enjoy the natural scenery.

“There are a lot of people who walk that road. Long Lake is so beautiful,” the woman said.

“People are out walking and running and it is kind of unsafe,” she said.

Naples Town Manager Ephrem Paraschak said that the long-range goal for the town is to have more sidewalks, but it is an expenditure that is not affordable presently.

“What I could do in the short-term is to pass it along to the deputies (at Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office) as far as speeders” when people are out walking, Paraschak said.

He was talking about people driving beyond the speed limit, not speed walkers.

Over the years, the Town of Naples has sought state money to make improvements on the corner of Route 302 and Route 35, including a crosswalk for pedestrians and an updated traffic signal light.

Chairman Bob Caron II said maintaining walkways during the winter has not been supported in the past.

“That is an issue: Shoveling the sidewalks during the winter. We don’t have that. It has been talked about. Years ago, it was turned down at Town Meeting,” Caron said.

“It is a big expense in the wintertime,” Caron said.

Paraschak agreed. “With the resources we have now, it won’t happen this year,” he said — in reference to extra snowplowing on Route 35.

However, he agreed to ask the Maine Department of Transportation “if they can wing it back a little further,” he said.

An audience member told Paraschak he should ask MDOT crews to wing back the snow on the side without mailboxes.

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