Getting around our communities

17Jul13
vroom
Flickr photo by JonoTakesPhotos

Yesterday as I was leaving my house, I was held up from turning on feeder road near my house by a man in an electric scooter passing by. He was “driving” in the road. Several cars were lining up behind him as they waited for an opportunity to pass him on this two lane road. The man was older; he looked like his feet had been amputated. As I watched him pass, numerous thoughts and questions ran through my mind.

  1. This is yet another reason why this road needs a sidewalk or bike lane. 
  2. Should I offer him a ride?
  3. Where would I put the scooter in my tiny hatchback?
  4. What about all those SUVs and trucks that are passing him? Why isn’t one of them offering him a ride?
  5. Why is this guy out in 95 degree heat? 

The sight of this man revived all these questions about how we build community and also how we expect to inhabit communities. I wish it were better here. Those who can’t drive — old people, people without cars, and disabled people — should be able to get around their neighborhoods. They should be able to run errands without fear of getting run over. Kids should be able to safely walk or ride their bike to school and the park.

geriatric daredevils

Flickr photo by bradleygee

The road is a major north-south route connecting the “downtown” of this village to a highway and major commercial area. It is about 5 1/2 miles with an elementary school on it and a middle school and park not far off on a side road. 

Ever since I returned from California last summer, the lack of alternative options, especially on this road has been annoying me. The middle school and park would be great destination for my daughter and I to bike or walk to since they are only two miles from our house. I feel like all the conversations out exercise and obesity, safe routes to school, accessiblity for elderly and disabled just ping off the bubble that surrounds this community.

Flickr photo by Edward Allen L. Lim

I would love to hear how others in similar suburban towns have gotten support for sidewalks and/or bike lanes.

Note: photos are used under the Creative Commons license from Flickr. I was not quick enough with a camera to get a photo of my scooter-driving neighbor.