Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Strollers vs. safety, convenience, public health and the environment

For the past few weeks, the street I live on has been undergoing major "improvements" to slow traffic and supposedly make the street more hospitable for pedestrians.  

There is a new traffic circle at the intersection of my street with a tiny, dead-end street that ends at the neighborhood mulch pile. 

There are new sidewalks and sidewalk extensions that create a one-way street at some points. This is all in addition to the three 5 mph speed bumps that were already there, which are so sharp that they would make the stuff in my bike basket fly out if I went over them at a reasonable rate of speed. 

My street is not a major street, and traffic on it is sparse enough that I have always just walked in the street, dogs and all, on our daily walks. 

But I guess this was not a viable option for people pushing strollers. The city ripped out  the sidewalk plot that I had planted with lilies last summer, to widen the sidewalk from 4 feet to 5. I am not sure which strollers are greater than 4 feet wide, but then, I am not an expert in such things. 

Although they do slow down traffic, I am of the opinion that traffic circles are dangerous, confusing, and increase emissions. Sharp speed bumps destroy your car's suspension and also increase emissions. It would have been nice to have some notice that my little "devil's strip" was going to be ripped out to accommodate the strollers, rather than hearing it from the nice road worker dude who happened to catch me in time to warn me so I could transplant my lilies. 

I recognize that this is not a clear-cut issue. That streets made for pedestrians, with slower, more sparse vehicle traffic, with neighbors who walk with their families and interact with each other, are things that I support and things that are compatible with the world I would like to see. So why does this "road improvement" project irk me so much?

I think it's because of what it says about the power of the Mommy Lobby. What if all the dog walkers lobbied for the city to install treat dispensing stations every few blocks, so those of us with reactive dogs are never caught empty handed? Can we have a dog park, off-leash for those who want it and with designated areas for on-leash walking for the rest of us, where we never have to fend off endless pleas of "can I pet your dog?" when we are trying to mind our own business and just manage our dogs as we try to get past careening skateboarders, soccer players, scooter drivers and their parents? 

I guess what I'm really trying to say is, why are we dog people continually marginalized when we are the ones who save lives and try to make the planet better for other species, and we are not the ones who bring into the world a source o9,441 metric tons of CO2 emissions who will destroy wildlife habitat foul clean water supplies and ultimately lay waste to the planet?

Where's MY $200,000 neighborhood improvement project?

Fozzie, where's YOUR tax deduction?


  1. Good points. I often feel the same way about the need for more safe bicycle paths. So many more people would use bikes, if they could do so safely. I shouldn't talk though because the only thing I've ever done to promote this is sign petitions. I wish though.

  2. Very good points. But you do know what they say? The squeaky wheel gets the oil.

  3. We understand completely :-) X X X

  4. start a doggie lobby?? usually when they do things like that to already quiet street it is an attempt to look like they are making things more human friendly where it's not actually needed.... instead of doing the real (and hard) work of building bike trails or at least bike lanes on major thouroughfares.... I have seen tis in enough local government bike plans here in Perth to detect a pattern.... and there is a study out that says conventional roundabouts are a dangerous piece of traffic furniture for cyclists. Speed bumps are better, but they don't need to be the 'sharp' kind to slow down cars.

  5. That's a wide sidewalk. Maybe for safety, nutty humans
    Benny & Lily

  6. I've had this discussion a lot. You know why they've widened the sidewalk by one foot? So the strollers can now stroll side by side while the mummies chat, oblivious to pedestrians behind them. Some of us dog owners met with council to ask for ONE GATE in a park that would increase the safety of an area for dogs to play in (so they wouldn't dash out on the street and get run over which was happening) and A FEW LIGHTS for winter walks. They said they'd think about it. That was at least 3 years ago. In the same time, every kiddie playground in every park in the neighbourhood has had new fencing and equipment put in. Yeah, I'd like to know where the taxes of childless people who have pets go to!

  7. Yikes! I hate it when there are no clear walkways... especially for us pet owners!
    -Jon @ dog strollers


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