Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Here's what's getting me riled...

My post below was not intended as a blanket statement that no-one needs, or should have, a car. What is driving me to the point of despair is the reality of life in this city.

We live in a small street – approximately fifteen minutes walk from the main station. There are buses to town that run every five minutes or so from either the top or the bottom of the hill on which we live. You can walk to a supermarket in ten minutes and there is a post office, chemist, doctor’s surgery and selection of corner shops within five minutes walk. There are five primary schools in walking distance and a bus that takes kids to the secondary schools. Yet, the street outside looks like this.



The road in the middle there is not wide enough for two cars to pass each other, so we often have horns blaring and little dances of cars to and fro until someone backs right up to the end of the street. If I have the misfortune to open my front door just as someone pulls away from the kerb outside I get gusts of exhaust fumes into my house. My kids have a tiny strip of pavement on which to play but that is usually impossible as they may touch a car and set off an alarm.

These streets were built in the 1860s, for ordinary working folk. No-one ever imagined that ordinary working folk would need one or two carriages per household! All those cars pootle about the streets of this congested city and then, when the sun shines, thousands more pour in. Then we get situations like the roads this bank holiday.

I know that many people like the 'freedom' of a car. It's just that I am feeling less and less free here...

7 comments:

Beth said...

Oh my. Yes I see what you mean ...

My neighborhood was built out of a field after WWII -- so, knowing that homeowners would likely have cars. All the lots have driveways and most have garages (I don't, but I'm glad, non-car owning person that I am). Actually, I would love to get rid of the cement drive and put in more garden, but I wouldn't be allowed (by the city) not to have a driveway.

Lisa G said...

My street looks almost identical and I think I've already said how much that annoys me, it especially makes my blood pressure go up when I see the next door neighbour get in the car to go to the shops at the END of the road, or when I see other neighbours reversing up the street and coming back down, engines revving for ages, waiting to pounce on parking spaces! Or my particular favourite, cars in the next street parked up on the pavement because there's no room in the road! There is nowhere for the kids to play outside like I used to at their age and it really pisses me off to have our freedom infringed because we are the minority!
I think that I may have reached boiling point now, so I'm off to join Reclaim The Streets!

Minnie said...

I know what you were trying to say.

I used to live in a place where it was 5 mins walk max to the local town. Everything you ever needed was there - except the sea, etc.. No need for a car and it was great. I don't half miss that..the convenience. Next door had FOUR cars and no driveway. Why? because they could!! It's mad.

Only reason we left was because of an extremely malicious lea.

Exhaust fumes are the pits. Nearly as bad as planes flying over the house with too much regularity. Sometimes I used to think they were about to land on the house, they felt that close! Still, you could always use earplugs for that.

Wobblymoo said...

eeek, go out when the cars move and paint double yellows

Gill said...

Yes, I get what you mean too. I often say I'd love to go back in time and experience certain places in their pre-car era. Or forward in time, because it's so unsustainable that it must all stop sometime! It's just *now* that things are very bad, re: cars, IMO.

Keep ranting, Allie. Every time I read something like this it makes me less likely to want to keep our car, next time something comes up for renewal and the Big Decision gets looked at again here.

maya said...

We used to fantasise abut having car free neighborhoods where streets like yours would be turned into lwawns where kids could play freely. At least even if people need to have cars they could be kept somewhere in a big parking lot that they have to (gasp, horror) WALK to...

Allie said...

Oh, Maya - that would be my ideal for these streets! Space for the kids, so they could run and play and wander over to friends' houses without all the traffic.