My neighbors are going to hate me…

by Natalie P.

April 26, 2009 | Filed Under Lifestyles of the Heartlessly Bitchy, The Heartless Bitch Way | 3 Comments

I recently received a letter in my mailbox from our neighborhood community association.  They are concerned about thru-traffic in our neighborhood and want to close off five north-south streets at their south ends. I live on one of those streets.

They are basically proposing closing down all but one of the streets in this area that connect to a major thoroughfare and by way of that, to the freeway that runs through town. The alternative for me, and everyone else in this area, would to be to drive 13 blocks out of my way, or drive through a school zone. And this would be the case if I just want to go to the gas station, or get groceries or rent a movie. All these shops are at the south end of my street.  A street they want to close.  My street has a sidewalk.  It’s not like pedestrians HAVE to walk in the street and therefore are at risk from cars.

Why does the community association want to do this? Because, as near as I can tell, they want their kids to be able to play in the street.  And this is why I am unpopular right now. I happen to think their kids should play in their YARDS, or at the local PARK – which is two short blocks away, or the SCHOOL – which is also two short blocks away – or in the field across the street, which is ONE block away, rather than in the street. I think that we should leave the streets open, and if you want to let your kids play in them, you can teach them the game of “natural selection”.

My god, what a Heartless Bitch I am. 

Yes, traffic is increasing. The neighborhood is growing. You want your property values to increase, and the growth of the neighborhood amenities assures that.  Those amenities like the Sushi restaurant, and that grocery superstore, and the yoga studio where you do your mom-and-tot yogacize, and the Starbucks where you get your morning latte, all have a price. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. 

I looked at the proposal and it was immediately apparent to me that all it would do is SHIFT the problem and concentrate a bunch MORE traffic in a school zone.  It would make one of the primary east-west streets incredibly busy, by diverting all north-south traffic from this quadrant onto it, in order to get to the freeway, or shops at the south end.

As you might suspect, I am vehemently against this and have let the city know how I feel about it.  This does not make me very popular with my neighbors, most of whom have young children.  I didn’t even bother to attend the community association’s meeting about it, but I heard it was an utter disaster.

I think there are alternatives that would encourage more drive-thru traffic (non-residents using these streets to get from one area to another) to use the main arterial routes that the city would prefer. These involve actually CONNECTING one of these arterial routes to a major through-street at the north end. There are north-end closures they could make that would not have NEARLY the impact on the residents, but would act as a deterrent to non-residential through traffic.  They could put in traffic circles (as they have done in other areas) to reduce traffic speed on some of the north-south streets.

I just have a real problem when people move onto a street like ours, that HAS through-traffic, and a light at the intersection, and then want to CHANGE it because THEY have kids and have a problem with the traffic.  You moved onto a THROUGH street. If you wanted to have a street where your kids could play, then you should have moved onto a cul-de-sac! This is tantamount to people who move next to a pig farm and then complain about the smell.  It really annoys me when people get an over-inflated sense of entitlement and think that because THEY don’t like the way things are laid out, the city should change it for them – regardless of the wishes/needs of the other residents who might have moved to that location precisely BECAUSE of its accessibility and easy connections to other parts of the city.  And it’s not like they don’t have parks, greenspaces, bike paths and schools in abundance close by!

But mostly, I’m just irritated by the short-sightedness and sheer insanity of the proposal. We want our kids to be safe, but hey, it’s OK to shunt all that traffic through a school zone?

This was a through-street when I raised MY kids on it. I saw no reason to change it then, and I see no reason to change it now. 

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3 comments so far
  1. Kimberly April 27, 2009 8:57 am

    Yeah, I live on a road that connects two very busy roads and my problem is not so much that it connects these busy roads, but that the people drive irresponsibly. It is a residential road but for some reason, people drive way above the speed limit thus making it an unsafe residential road. The county won’t allow speed bumps since it is considered a snow-emergency route. The kids (elementary school) don’t get a bus because we live just under a mile away from the school. You have to be a mile or more away to get a bus. This mile or more away rule was implemented in 1963, long before my neighborhood was built. I’m sure back then it was “safe” for kids to walk to school; however, there has been extreme growth in this area over the last 46 years and one would think the county and school board would take another look at this bus rule for specific neighborhoods. If my child were to walk the side streets (a safer route)to school, he would be walking more than a mile. If he walks the route the county uses to measure walking distance, it is .82 miles BUT it is a dangerous route and these kids are in elementary school!

    The county doesn’t provide a crossing guard at the end of my road. The school transportation people told me that traffic light is a cross-walk traffic light but having driven this road and sitting at that light, I’ve witnessed drivers neglecting to stop at the red light when making a right turn onto my road. SCARY!! No way will I let my child walk that route. Uh uh.

    After a two-week email battle with the transportation people, I decided to change my work hours and drive my child to school.

  2. gospazha April 28, 2009 5:41 pm

    Kimberly, no one owes your kids crossing guards or a bus ride to school. All you’re doing is whinging about all the accommodations you think everyone else owes you because you have children.

    YOU chose to have them, so there’s nothing amiss with having YOU take the responsibility of getting them to school safely. (And yes, I’d say the same for the people who live more than a mile from the school, too.)

  3. Kimberly May 31, 2009 12:42 pm

    gospazha, just saw your message and I want to say that I don’t think anyone OWES me ANYTHING. I’m stating the facts in my situation and made my case to the county transportation. I lost the battle and decided to do what I needed to do and drive my child to school. I felt my complaint/concern was legitimate and worth the battle.

    Also, I think many laws/rules are outdated and should be revisited by policy/lawmakers, especially when extreme change has occurred. It’s just frustrating when you attempt to be proactive and you find that policy/lawmakers are not necessarily of the same mindset. I don’t think I’m out of line/whinging because I raised this concern to the county…I would gladly support/help parents get a bus for their kids even if I didn’t have one of my own.


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