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Norwalk Man Tries To Melt Indifference to Walkers

The people who need Norwalk's sidewalks the most aren't inclined to call attention to themselves. But David Marcus is fighting for their rights with a website he designed to make Norwalk more livable.

Marcus, who moved here from Seattle six years ago, started his blog, Livable Norwalk about a year ago to "make Norwalk a more walkable and bikeable city."

"After about five years of complaining about things to my wife I realized that there's actually a lot of people out there that are concerned about these issues," Marcus said. "You feel like you're in town and everyone's happy about big roads and strip malls and stuff, but ... there are a lot of people who are concerned about needing places to walk."

Marcus started the year with a rant about cars: "Instead of developing our retail in appealing walkable city centers, we spread it out over miles of lifeless parking-lot-centric development. Whenever we try to develop more interesting city centers, the cry goes up, 'Not enough parking!'"

Marcus isn't forced to walk. Even though he has a car, he regularly uses a city bus to take his 2-year-old daughter to preschool. It gives them time to socialize, and it's pleasant, he said. He also has a website for bus and train riders .

On the bus this winter, Marcus saw people walking in the road on Main Avenue because they had no choice: The sidewalks were impassable because of the snow. So Marcus used Livable Norwalk to launch efforts to change that. First, he focused on the Courtyard Marriot; then he announced "Operation Route 7." Marcus also made phone calls to business owners, "in the nicest way possible," to ask them to have the sidewalks shoveled. He also called City Hall.

"David Marcus was among the first to complain about Main Avenue," said Larry Losio, Norwalk's ordinance enforcement officer. Other people followed.

Marcus isn't angry at businesses, even though they are ignoring city ordinances. "I don't think it's a conscious decision not to shovel the sidewalk," he said. "It doesn't seem to be on their radar."

He'd like to see that change. "It's tough out there, walking around. I'm lucky, because I have the option to drive. A lot of the people who don't drive are older people, or disabled people. ... It's a shame to make shut-ins out of people who don't have to be shut-ins."

Have you thought about the dominance of the automobile in our society?

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