Tyler is a growing city in population and area, boasting about 115,000 residents to date. That number swells to about 250,000 people who enter Tyler daily to work, shop, receive medical care and attend college and university classes. As more drivers are using city streets and highways, traffic inevitably increases.
Most of Tyler is geared toward travel by car. But how do pedestrians experience the city?
The Tyler Loop is seeking to answer that question with our Pedestrian Scorecard series, where we join Tylerite walkers through neighborhoods, shopping districts and destinations.
For our third walk in the series, we joined Tyler Legacy student Hewan Knight on a walk along Broadway Ave. from Barclay Apartments to Sprouts Farmers Market. The walk lasted around 10 minutes and spanned half a mile along one of Tyler’s busiest roads.
The route replicates what a typical grocery run might be like for people living near portions of South Broadway Avenue.
Hewan’s foray onto South Broadway
We began our walk at a shaded corner outside Barclay Apartments, where Broadway Avenue intersects with Amherst Drive. Hewan struggled to find a safe time to cross Amherst as traffic rushed past through the intersection. There were no crosswalk indicators to guide pedestrians to the other side.
After gazing at stoplights to find a proper time to cross, Hewan led us toward the parking lot of a convenience store across the street, where the sidewalks became intertwined with parking lots for various businesses. Cars meandered through the parking lots and across segments of sidewalk as they exited into Broadway.
Where the sidewalks end
Early into our route, Hewan encountered multiple places where sidewalks ended, replaced by grass or swallowed completely by parking lots.
After one break in sidewalk coverage in front of Massage Boss ETX, another sidewalk began over ten feet away to the right, directing Hewan to walk horizontally across parking lots with car traffic.
“The sidewalk has a dead end,” Hewan said. “It’s covered by grass. The sidewalk just ended and now I have to find a way through the parking lot.”
We walked across driveways and parking lots for over ten businesses on the way to our destination, Sprouts Market. Occasionally, parked cars, trash and other obstructions would completely block the sidewalks meant for pedestrians.
Around halfway through, Hewan led us across a 100-foot stretch of grass with no sidewalk or parking lot in sight soon after passing the First Cash Pawn building.
Water and trees ahead
When the sidewalk resumed, we crossed a small tree-lined creek with flowering mimosas — some of the only trees and flowers along our route. The creek crossing fed into some of the last parking lots we had to cross before reaching Sprouts.
Hewan thought the sidewalks on the last leg of the walk were in somewhat poor condition.
“If you look up close, half of the sidewalk is actually covered with grass and it’s not as smooth as most people would like it,” Hewan said. “It’s more sand than concrete.”
Navigating a car-filled parking lot
Getting to the entrance of Sprouts required navigating one last parking lot — this time much larger and busier than many we walked through before. The Sprouts lot had sidewalk coverage in front, but Hewan had to walk through lanes of parking without any guiding path to reach the grocery store doors.
Here’s some of what Hewan had to say about this experience: “Overall it was not the best experience. There were no signals when I could go and when I could cross the road. It was kind of just playing back in my head of me getting hurt, or me getting in a car accident or something like that…the sound was not the best because the cars are so loud, and it just makes me not focus on whether I should cross the road or not.”
Hewan rated this a C -.
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