A Useful Tool For Naperville Walkers

I’ve always preferred walking vs. running. Truth be told, sitting beats both, but it doesn’t do much for cardio. My good friend likes running, though I never see him smiling while running. The miles finally caught up to him with foot, ankle and knee issues, so he has resorted to using a bicycle. He doesn’t seem to enjoy that either. Maybe it’s just him.

I’ve decided to get back to walking. I tend to be obsessive/compulsive, so I walk any one of several routes, anywhere from 2.1 miles to 4.5 miles per day. Having not walked for a while, I’m sure the folks that used to see me probably thought that I had ‘checked out’. A couple of people, that I didn’t even know, were actually glad to see me again. It’s nice to see someone you think is no longer with us.

When I walked previously, I had my accessories with me, including a good pair of walking shoes, a little bottle of water, a small tape recorder in case something brilliant crossed my mind ( the recorder didn’t get much use), and my cell phone in case I planted myself horizontally on the ground (my wife thought that was a good idea). I’ve added one more temporary tool which I will get into later in this posting.

One thing that has changed since I resumed walking is the obstacle course on some sidewalks; low hanging tree branches, on the city owned parkway, blocking the walkway.

I called Naperville’s Department of Public Works to see if or when the city trims those branches for sidewalk access. I was pushed over to voice mail; it was early afternoon, so staff probably left for the day. I didn’t get a return call, so I tried again the following week. This time I had a name to ask for (Jack Mitz) and he answered the phone. He was a nice fellow, and proceeded to tell me that the city has about 500 miles of roadway trees to cover consisting of about 70,000 trees. The trimming cycle used to be about every five years, but now it’s been extended to about every 7 to 8 years.

He asked me the area of concern that I had, and I mentioned the north side of 87th street between Naper Boulevard and Wehrli. He thought it had been trimmed a few years ago, and he would look into it. I thanked him and that was it.

Knowing that it might be years before they get trimmed again, and knowing that I buy only ripe bananas because I’m not sure how long I’ll be around, I called him back and left a message asking whether or not it’s acceptable for a resident to trim off the more egregious branches to clear the sidewalk. I haven’t heard back from Jack; I’m sure I will.

In the mean time I have added one more accessory to my walk. It’s a ratcheting bypass lopper with telescopic handles for pruning. If the city gives me the green light to go for it, I’m ready for the challenge unless someone or the city beats me to it.

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1 Comment

  1. Jim Haselhorst

    Yes, the last few years, the most common ways the city has found to continuing cutting it’s budget is to make changes to city services like reducing frequency of trimming parkway trees, reducing number of shrub pickups each year, reducing miles of road maintained, reducing staff (increase response time for city inspectors, police, fire, animal control, return calls, etc.), shorten period of free yard waste pickup, reduce sidewalk maintenance, etc.

    This is what happens when you ask city officials to cut the budget for over 10 years in a row while CPI (inflation) for this period has increased by 19%.

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