My Turn, Jack Connery: Why do we clog up our streets?
It’s getting that time of year again. Motorists beware! Your two-lane street has been turned into onelane in places because of piles of limbs, brush and leaves left in the streets, sometimes for weeks, it seems. A pile on your side — and just down the street, a pile on the other side. Another street, where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour, has become an obstacle course or a dodgem track because of the same piles. This will continue through the next series of thunderstorms with broken limbs, and through the Fall with large piles of leaves.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we do this to our neighbors? Why do we do this to the person who uses our street to get to work, or school? Why do we do this to our city? Why does our city let us get by with it?
Moving here from another state a short time ago, I find this to be very distracting from my first impressions of Salisbury. We had lots of trees there too, as well as lots of grass. Grass and leaves we had to bag and leave at the front of our yards — but in our yard, out of the street. Lowe’s or Food Lion has a plentiful supply of yard bags.
Limbs, we had to tie into bundles of 6-foot pieces for trash pick-up. Limbs too big to cut up were hauled away within 10 days after a phone call. To leave piles in the street there would have resulted in complaints by neighbors and a possible ticket for obstruction.
Maybe the city ordinances say “do it this way.” If so, they need to be changed. If they say something else, the city needs to enforce them. I don’t know what the statistics say about auto/bike accidents caused by leaf/limb piles in the street, but if there has been one, there have been too many. Besides that, children need that pile of leaves in their yard to jump into.
This past weekend I went to an afternoon reception in a local neighborhood. Limited parking on this residential street meant walking a block or two. However, there was a vacant spot across the street, obstructed by a pile of small limbs. I watched a big SUV take that spot. The driver reduced the size of that pile by backing over it a couple of times as he parallel parked. Later, I looked out to find a smaller sedan in that spot. When I left, I saw a small VW pulling into the spot, over the pile that could now be swept up by a yard broom. I hope the resident took care of it. I don’t recommend a person using his car to compress a pile, but there are ways to do it.
There will be piles around town for the next four to six months. At some places, they will continue into the winter. This must be very distracting to prospective residents driving through neighborhoods, looking for a place to live.
I read now that the city planners are looking ahead to the next 20 or 30 years. What do we want Salisbury to look like then?
We can do a lot of “looking” now. What do we want Salisbury to look like next week, next month? Let’s not continue to deface our city with this mess. Let’s keep our streets clean this year.
Jack Connery lives in Salisbury.
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