Sunday, May 23, 2010

Why question a needed Stop for Safer Neighborhoods?

Thanks to the Commission and the Mayor of the City of Wilton Manors, we had gotten our stop sign back at the intersection of NE 7th Ave and NE 22nd Drive. 

It had gotten taken down and the reason we got was because there were some traffic studies done that determined that it wasn't needed.  Too little traffic, too many speed humps and the lot.


I can sit in my rocking recliner in the front room of my house and get a clean view of the intersection.  I watch people go through there every time I use that particular chair, it can be entertaining actually.  It points out a few problems with these So Called Experts.

First and most important, they never parked a warm body at that intersection and watched how this intersection and the surrounding streets are used.  This neighborhood is used as a thoroughfare by many people going from the Shoppes of Wilton Manors to the adjacent neighborhoods just over the line in Ft Lauderdale.


Modern technology can read the car traffic but there is no way that you will get to count the number of people who walk through there ON FOOT.  Many hours there are more pedestrians that walk through that intersection than cross it with a car.   

Go ahead re-read that last sentence.  

The 800 pound Gorilla of the Wilton Manors Economy is that shopping center.   It has two LARGE bars, a very popular coffee house, some clothes stores.   A significant number of people Walk Home.  Many of them are not exactly sober when they walk through there, and others just aren't paying attention.   This being Florida, there are inadequate sidewalks so people walk in the street.  It is an accepted fact of life here.  If you make it more difficult to go to these shops and bars, you are going to lower the taxable income of the city, and also harm the economic viability of this town.

Yes, all because of one measly stop sign that takes a mere seconds to blow through on your way to your semi gated community of Kensington Street on Townhouse Isle.

I wonder what George and Jackson of Georgies' Alibi would think if it were put to them that way?

Second, if you don't like the patrons of those bars and shops, consider the residents.  There are actually significant numbers of children in this neighborhood.  It is a RESIDENTIAL neighborhood despite how close it is to a dangerous four lane highway and all the COMMERCIAL activity that goes on there.  I am happy to see that my neighbor's children are playing on my little street.   They use it to ride bikes, skate, run Remote Controlled Cars, play ball and do things that are normal in our society for children to do.  These children often have to worry about the high amount of traffic through what should be a quiet residential street, break from what they're doing, dodge traffic that blows through that intersection and zooms up the street to where ever they are going.  The Stop Sign slows them down.  They actually do stop there.  It is having an impact, people are slowing down on NE 7th Avenue and NE 22nd Drive.  It is obvious to the neighbors who live there and overwhelmingly appreciate the fact the stop sign is there.

Furthermore, the intersection is a logical place for a stop sign.  Seeing the intersection without the sign, there was a chance to observe the normal pattern there.   People still stopped.   People then would get into an accident because they were getting rammed from behind by someone who didn't want to stop because there was no sign there.   This behavior continued until the sign was replaced.  Having the sign there actually lowered accidents because it was respected.   It wasn't universally respected, but people did see it and at least slow down for it while considering whether to risk getting caught breaking the law and running it.

So why question the stop sign?

Turns out that someone in the semi-gated community is bothered by it.  He now can no longer drive the three blocks down NE 7th Avenue comfortably without having to touch his break pedal.  The only way in and out of that development is to come out at the South end of NE 7th Avenue at NE 20th Street and hit the four way stop there. The street that serves that condo community is still shown as being connected.  That is because it was connected and someone in the community at the time didn't like the fact that Those People From Outside walked through their neighborhood and sometimes caused crime. 

You know who Those People are don't you?  Coded Language?  Seems so...

So they put up a giant and ugly Berlin Wall at the end of the condo community and cut off the few houses that are on the street that are not within the condo's Home Owner's Association and turned their back on the City.  They're sticking their head in the sand and saying we can live here without interacting with the rest of the city while dictating what the rest of the city does with the traffic flow and threaten the children of the neighborhood just outside and the patrons of the shops of Wilton Drive.

It isn't like we don't have enough to worry about these days with the economy being wobbly and everyone wondering whether the burst housing bubble won't pull the country from Recession to Depression.

Hopefully this will be the end of the whole Stop Sign question.   If you support it I look forward to seeing you at the Commission Meeting on Tuesday.  Oh and there's going to be a little discussion about parking there. 

More on that parking thing later... I just needed to get this rant off my chest.

No comments:

Post a Comment