Apparently it is really hard to move utility poles, lots of different utilities (power, telephone, cable, etc) use them and getting everyone lined up to put new poles in and move everything takes forever and is very expensive. Because of this, in older areas of Bethesda you sometimes see utility poles sprouting in the middle of the sidewalk. This is bad because it makes hard for disabled people to get around, as well as people with strollers or little kids. One solution, which the county uses from time to time is to make the sidewalks a little wider so you still have a full sidewalks width between the end of the pole and the grass.
Battery Lane in Bethesda (shown here) is one of those places with sidewalks impaled with utility poles. Just today I saw that they are working around that by widening the sidewalks in those areas. All down the north side of Battery Ln, around each of the utility poles, they have made the sidwalks just a little bit wider.
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