I am writing to point out a terrible condition of the public bridge that leads down from the dead end of West Seventh Street to the West End, Westgate Middle School and Patterson Field. The walking bridge is dangerously overgrown with poison ivy and poison oak.
The walking bridge is in such an overgrown state that there is currently no safe way to walk from the downtown area to the West End. Pedestrians must either navigate the busy intersection at Jefferson and West Eighth Street, where there is no pedestrian-friendly crossing, or they must stoop over and run a gauntlet of poison ivy and poison oak vegetation at the walking bridge. It encroaches along the sides of the walking bridge and hangs from the upper reaches of the inward-curving fence like a tunnel of poison ivy and poison oak.
That walking bridge is a public crossing over the state Route 7 access ramp. I don't know how many people use it daily, but I would bet that is a statistic that some City official obtained when the fencing - the fencing that now serves as a trellis for the poison ivy and poison oak - was installed. Children will use that walking bridge when school starts. Even when school is not in session, young people use the walking ramp to go to the basketball courts behind the school.
My understanding, after my son, Craig Stowers, spoke with the Mayor in August 2013, about this issue was the City was going to take corrective action, but I must have misunderstood him, because no corrective was taken. The problem could easily have been dealt with at the beginning of summer, before the poison ivy and poison oak was overgrown, but now it protrudes so far into the walking area that I doubt if any City employee is willing to risk approaching it to spray herbicide or chop it down.