Here’s the set up. I’m new in the neighborhood and notice the kids are mostly playing in the street. There is enough traffic going fast that it is concerning. Looking around I see that the kids can’t leave this development as there is no safe route to town. Even though there are 84 houses there is no play area set aside. Bad planning!
So me being rather dominated by the Mr. Fixit side of my personality I try to find a way to open up the fence along the adjacent river. You would think I called for scarifying household pets from the reaction from the neighbors. Years ago they fought to close the river access off because of visitor trash and transients. Even with my pledge to provide play supervision and secure access they didn’t want to entertain opening the gates.
Well, OK then, what can be done? Taking another look at the issue I realized that my initial impression of a play desert was wrong. Yes, the kids play a lot in the street but they are very traffic savvy. They also use garages and backyards. Some even sneak over the fence and get down along the river. In general they have found places to play that don’t set off parental alarms but also allow them to be themselves.
Yes, I can ask the City for some traffic calming signs and a better route into town. I can also share with parents that the kids are doing OK and that they can lighten up a bit on the restrictions. I can also continue to be their friend. They know I am on their side and they can share concerns and problems with me.
Maybe I’ve been a bit slow to find the wisdom to become the “grandpa” down the street – but better late than never.