March 04, 2006


So today we walked over to a workshop offered by the Squire Park Community. A spokesperson from City Repair, Jan Semenza, gave an enthusiastic presentation regarding taking back the streets for pedestrians. He really loves his job, that's evident. His neighborhood in southeast Portland, more specifically, his immediate intersection, was transformed from dangerous autostrada to the Sunnyside Piazza. Intersection repair is just one of many projects taken on by this grassroots organization. The workshop ran for four hours and breakfast goodies and lunch were provided. Alas, we could only stay for half the show. Our own garden really needed our help. So we missed the pizza.

Ironically, later this afternoon, J's company car, parked at our own intersection, was hit head on. Our neighbor, A, (in addition to me and J) heard the smash, looked up from her gardening and took the plate number. The police came to take some info from her and J. The officer was very distracted and only spoke to us for a minute before something urgent came over his radio and he took off like a shot, jumped into his cruiser and sped off, sirens wailing. We discover later that the call he received was regarding the same car involved in J's incident. It was stolen, full of 13 year olds and hit a police car! Smart enough to steal a car but still 13 - plenty dumb enough to hit a cop car.

Our intersection sucks. The traffic circle installed a couple of years ago is worthless. In fact, it is right now sporting nice deep tire grooves. Why drive around it when you can drive over it? Why slow down at all? People usually don't. They might slow down to navigate the circle but they immediately accelerate as they head north down the street. All day we hear engines rev and tired screech and motors roar. Dumb asses. Our street bottlenecks about 30 yards after the circle. Two cars can't pass each other. Not to mention the side streets coming down from the main drag and up from the next side street. Terrible visibility from each direction. There have been plenty of accidents at out circle. We've seen and heard them and even called some of them in to the police. How do you get people to care enough to drive safely? I refuse to believe that they don't know they should drive safely. I hate excuses. How do you get people to care? Traffic circles don't work, that's for damn sure. And now that we have the damn thing there, how can we create what was created at the Sunnyside Piazza? We'll have to get creative.

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