Saturday, November 10, 2012

Why our streets became stroads

When we were young, we lived on a street one could play on. We rode our bikes, ran back and forth from yard to yard, and played catch and hockey on the street too. We were always told, of course, to watch out for cars. You see a car coming, and you cleared out of the way. We were taught that the street was for cars and we never looked back.
A nice neighborhood street, Glendale, near Bartlett.
So we grew up, and eventually, we are driving, and that mindset of looking out for cars still sits with us. Streets are for cars. If we're in a car, and you're not, then get out of our way. This author confess to being that way in my past... (though never as bad as this guy).

Look at what we've done to our way of life now. Our schools are now filled with children who bus, or ride in the care with their parents. Our downtown and neighborhoods are now just places to drive through. When Mound residents talk about going to enjoy the Dakota Trail, they talk about driving to the trail, to enjoy their walk on the trail. We clutch tightly to the little hands of our daughters and sons as we walk around the neighborhood and beyond, saying continually "look out, there's a car!"

We, as a society, we have forgotten that our streets are not just for cars, and that legally, cars need to look out for us.
every driver of a vehicle shall (1) exercise due care to avoid colliding with any bicycle or pedestrian upon any roadway
This is a terrible cycle we are in now with our children and the outdoors. When our little ones 'misbehave' on the street, we chide them for their behavior, and we wave apologetically to the car that was forced to slow down because of the child's behavior. Then the child grows up staying away from the street. Unable to go to the neighborhood park, or to their friends house unless they are escorted by an adult. Eventually they get the 'privilege' of a car, and they can drive 'safely' in the car where ever they go.

Meanwhile, cars now can drive by our homes on Bartlett Boulevard unimpeded with people, and get to their destination a whole twenty seconds faster. If a person dares enter their domain, they are often ignored, and cars will wizz by not needing to slow down because they have plenty of room to avoid a collision.

Bartlett Boulevard - A Stroad in the Shirley Hills neighborhood. What value is added to the city by having streets like this?
Does Mound want streets that has cars driving fast through it, or does it want streets where people will use them?