Lets Gleefully and Joyfully Walk... Up the Middle of the Street?

by - Monday, August 08, 2011

My hometown is a little... granola-y.  Well, maybe a lot granola-y.  It is afterall, the Recreation Capital of Canada (don't you just love how towns give themselves these titles - like Kamloops, BC is the Tournament Capital of Canada... is there a Tournament Board of Directors that bestows this title or what? The Queen of Tournaments?)...

Not that being a recreation "capital" means your granola-y, but trust me... if you ever visited, you'd have the smell of pot wafting through the air, people still modeling broomstick skirts, and people living just about every kind of alternative lifestyle one can (we once lived beside a family without running water and electricity - I think - they gathered their water in a tub outside... and they smelled... oh, how they smelled... I wonder whatever happened to little Shuma...).

The city is now proposing a "Car Free Sunday" that will cut out a huge chunk of the town to car traffic so that people can, for what I can read into it, bike and walk down the middle of the street for four hours.  Gleefully and joyfully walk up the middle of the street.

Here's the story... I'll wait while you go and read it (a friend posted this on Facebook, I don't normally read my home town newspaper, except when I go home at Christmas, and it takes me about 38 seconds to read it from front to back).

Okay... now I know the town is granola-y... but really.  Here are the concerns I have:

- what if you live in that area and want out in your car during those hours? Can you leave?
- what if you live in that area and want to drive home during those hours? Can you get back in?
- what if you want to shop in that area during that time, and need your car to carry stuff?  What if you are taking your elderly mother/disabled friend/lazy ass out and don't want to/can't walk ten blocks to the store?  What if Sunday is the only time of the week you can do this good deed for others?
- if people have to drive around this area to get where they are going (for reference sake, the coordinates supplied by the newspaper knock off about half of the main, or old, part of town.  It takes out a pretty big chunk (not really the "shopping area", but definitely makes a void in the middle of the city) they will be using more gas, more time and get more annoyance in doing do.  Not very "organic" to spew exhaust fumes in the air is it?
- the two end points (5th Street and 17th Street) are the two roads that lead to the only two bridges that connect the town to the other side... where traffic is already a pisser anyways.

What if you just think that walking down the middle of the street (where there are already sidewalks) is dumb?  The city thinks giving six weeks notice to start this initiative is enough.  They say people will adjust what they're doing.  But why should they?  Tax dollars pay for roads and sidewalks - so that cars can go on the road, and people can go on the sidewalks.

As someone who lived in part of the town affected by a weekend festival that happens on the same weekend every frigging year in this area, I saw people not adjust and traffic back up for kilometres every. single. year.  They don't adjust.  They get mad.  And frustrated about the traffic. 

And really... if you want to use this as an opportunity to gather with other like-minded (granola-y) individuals... there are tonnes of parks and trails that are already closed to traffic every day, all the time.  Gather there.  Gleefully and joyfully. It is the Recreation Capital of Canada afterall.

Or... why not start with a chunk of town that doesn't affect upwards of 40 intersections, and at least two main thoroughfare roads to start to see if this is something that people really want to do?  I agree, if you're going to do this, you have to try this out... since you know for sure all the supporters will be out in full force the first week or two... but see how it pans out after a month or two... are people still having fun walking down the middle of the road?

How do you explain to your kids that "well, between noon and 4 pm on Sundays, you're allowed to walk down the middle of the street without a care in the world, but come every other hour of every other day, you can't... it's bad... cars are bad...?". 

Get off my damn road.

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  1. Anonymous7:13 PM

    I live here and I don't read the papers, simply because of the boring stupidity that is written in them. This is the first I've heard of this and I see no bloody point to it what so ever. You are right, roads are for cars and sidewalks for people. Put your energy into something that will make a difference instead of piss people off. Many years ago Hornby Island hippies wanted the island to go carless, well that sure didn't happen. Mind you alot of the cars on the road there shouldn't be as they are old gas guzzlers that spew oil fumes. Oh so great for the environment!!!! What ever. Love Mo

  2. I heart you guys!

    Streets are for cars - unless you are going to re-design and revitalization a downtown area to a pedestrian friendly area with clear restrictions and notification to businesses it isn't going to work or make people happy. Businesses thrive because consumers can easily access what they need - a small change to this reduces shopping and while we all want to help the environment and ride our bikes there are probably smarter efficiencies we can make - we've adopted a removal of plastic bags and we offer free reusable bags, there are also other great downtown programs where businesses share boxes that they receive with businesses that want to ship to distant customers rather than buying empty boxes and throwing away/recycling boxes...

  3. car free sunday? thats un-american. oh, that's right...lol well, you should organize a protest!

    People need to find better things to improve.