One of Many Challenges

For 2021 I’ve signed on to be a member of the steering committee for Toledo’s 2021 Community Visioning (CV) project coordinated by Tree’s Forever and Iowa’s Living Roadways, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and other partners. Tama is also a Community Visioning participant in 2021.

I Like to Walk

I try to get outside and walk as much as I can, but I especially like walking with a purpose… not just walking for the sake of exercise or stress-relief. I guess that’s also why I dislike walking indoors on a treadmill, or the “dreadmill” as I like to call it. So, if I have somewhere to go in Tama-Toledo I’ll walk there and back whenever possible. Fortunately, my home in Toledo is geographically centered between the two communities. If you draw a 1.5-mile radius circle around my house it will include ALL of the two communities. It’s ideal for walking, except for the hills 🌄, and the challenge of finding a safe route.

Formidable Challenges

Tama-Toledo does have some nice sidewalks and trails that I try to take advantage of when I walk; however, there are three BIG challenges to using them safely:

  • Gaps,
  • Lack of Safe Crossings, and
  • Snow.


This challenge is going to be difficult to explain in detail at this time. Why, you ask? Because I really need a map to do it justice, and probably some photos too. I don’t have a good map at this time, but I hope that the Tama and Toledo CV teams will come up with one (or two) soon. I’d also like to collect and post some photos, but there’s about a foot of snow covering everything, and I do mean everything (see below), right now.

Lack of Safe Crossings

Tama-Toledo, and my home, are situated at the intersection of two major highways:

  • US Highway 30, running east-west, and
  • US Highway 63, running north-south.

I’ll write more about these two obstacles later, when I have that map.

Snow ❄️

I should probably include rain in this paragraph too, and the mud that naturally comes with either snow or rain, in locations where there is no pavement (that’s a gap!). I think everyone can agree that safely traversing any wet surface can be a challenge, espeically where there’s no pavement. Anyone who’s experienced winter in the upper-midwest also knows that snow and ice make that challenge even greater, even where there is pavement!


This morning my daugther called and asked if I could bring her a USB “printer cable”; she’s volunteering at a local youth archery tournament at the South Tama County High School, less than 1/2-mile from my home. A perfect opportunity for a short walk! There are no sidewalks on my street (another gap) but the roadway is not too busy so that’s okay. There is a nice sidewalk that runs part of the way (yup, another gap!) from my street to the High School along US 63, so that’s also helpful. Unfortunately, the photos I’m including below show the condition of that sidewalk on this lovely Saturday morning.

Sidewalk on US 63 at Summitt Street - Looking North
There's a sidewalk under there somewhere

Sidewalk on US 63 at Summitt Street - Looking South
You'll just have to take my word for it

There’s about 1/2-mile segment of sidewalk, some would say “to nowhere”, along this side of US 63 in Toledo. The north end of the segment terminates at 2nd Ave. in Toledo, but there’s no sidewalk on the north side of that intersection, nor any to the north for more than a mile! The south end of the segment terminates, literally in the middle of a field, presumably at the city’s shared boundary with Tama. Fortunately, on the west side of US 63 there’s an infrequently-used access/frontage road and it’s paved to provide access to some South Tama High School athletic fields. It’s ironic, you can’t safely walk to school because there are so few sidewalks, but there’s a paved drive to the the baseball diamond, where there’s no place to park. 😦

The entire length of this sidewalk is covered in snow, and I can’t recall any time this winter when any portion of it has been cleared. 😦 In fact, the snow here is exceptionally deep and difficult to walk trough because it includes everything that the snow plows have churned up. 😦😦 Spring can’t come soon enough for me!

I’ll post more regarding gaps and crossings as soon as I have that map and maybe some photos.