I’ve lived in my home now for almost 14 years. We started out living here with just four of us and our dog Sammy. We’ve since grown to a family of 7 and two dogs. To say we’ve outgrown our home—just a bit—is an understatement. The decision whether to move or to stay has been debated over and over again, and here we are—still living in our little humble abode.
I don’t mind living here—we have decent enough neighbors for the most part. There are the neighbors behind us that we don’t care for too much—simply because they’ve done nothing but try to cause us trouble since they moved in. We long ago determined—they like to cause trouble with all of the neighbors, so it wasn’t just us they were stirring things up with. We get along well with the rest of our neighbors—and frequently chat with them across the fences or out front along the sidewalk.
We also live in an “older” neighborhood. Some of the houses have been here for 40+ years. We pride ourselves on taking care of our lawns and keeping our yards attractive. There are mature trees throughout the neighborhood and in most of our yards—adding to the character of our little neighborhood. And thanks to the streamlined winds of Hurricane Ike that made their way up into Ohio about 5 years ago—most of us have new roofs and siding to boot—and we’re looking rather spiffy.
There is one drawback to our neighborhood; the road on which we live. It is wide enough for people to park on both sides of the street and have two mobile cars pass each other at the same time. From one end, the street is a 1.1 miles of a very straight road—and the posted speed limit is 25mph. As you come to the end of that straight road—you curve into a bend and the street continues the other direction—in a less straight fashion—for another .75 miles. (Think of the letter J) We so happen to live on the inside of this bend—and luckily so—as most of the traffic is pulled away from us by centrifugal force. The people living on the outside of the bend are not quite so lucky—although we’re not immune from the traffic being on the inside of the bend.
Typically, as people approach the curve from either end—they tend to speed down that straight pathway toward the bend. I guess they see that long straight road ahead of them and can’t wait to reach the end—usually speeding well beyond the posted limits. I’m not sure—but most cars do not proceed down our road at 25mph. More like 50mph sometimes even higher. The problem is—if you are accustomed to our road—then you know what to anticipate—especially with the parked cars on either side of the street near the bend. Unfortunately, drivers can not predict people and pets trying to cross the street—or even people backing out of their driveways, as they come around the curve—and this makes for a terribly dangerous situation at the posted speed limits. And of course, speeding around our bend increases the likelihood of disaster, exponentially!
In 2001—a drunk driver raced down our road at 131 miles per hour—didn’t anticipate the curve and ended up crashing into our neighbors house. In 2002, another driver coming from the other direction—whizzed around our curve—plunging into a car parked in its driveway and moving it laterally 30 feet into a tree. In 2003, our car was parked on the street and some guy—in broad daylight—sailed around the curve and smashed directly into the back of our parked car at 50 miles per hours—hurling pieces of our car onto the roof of our house. In 2006, someone drove over several lawns on the outside of our bend taking out 2 mailboxes before plowing into a big old boulder (put there so that cars didn’t sail into their house). In 2008, a parked car on our street was obliterated. In 2011, another mailbox was taken out. Just this year we’ve had two accidents in one night on our street—one hit a car and ran—the other hit the street sign and ran, just a few short hours apart. And then last Friday morning, it happened again. A car racing down our road took out 2 trashcans, a bookshelf put out for trash collection, plowed into a mailbox and hurled it onto another neighbors property. They fled the scene before anyone could catch their plate numbers.
I propelled myself into action against these speeding, drunken, and all around irresponsible drivers. I’ve conferred with 4 of my neighbors and we are going to all write to the mayor. We need speed bumps on our road. I’m sure it won’t stop every accident—but it will maybe deter people from racing down our street. With all the kids and animals we have –we can’t risk a person getting hurt or killed because someone isn’t smart enough to slow down and follow the residential speed limits. It will eventually cost someone their life—and who knows if that driver will stick around to face the consequences. But more importantly, we don’t want anyone to get hurt—especially our children.
I’m not sure what will come of our letters. I’m not sure if I will have to attend a city council meeting—but I’m willing to do what it takes. We need to take back our street—and bring safety to our neighborhood. All of my neighbors agree—something has to be done—and sooner rather than later.
What would you do—faced with a similar problem?
Have you ever dealt with change at the municipal, township or city level?
This was written for The Writers’ Post Weekly Blog Hop #48. This week’s theme: The Last Straw
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