27 June 2006
Oh, but we can't live there
Michael Bates turned up this plea from a woman in the Tulsa 'burbs, circa 1990:
I am a mother of four children who are not able to leave the yard because of our cityís design. Ever since we have moved here I have felt like a caged animal only let out for a ride in the car. It is impossible to walk even to the grocery store two blocks away. If our family wants to go for a ride we need to load two cars with four bikes and a baby cart and drive four miles to the only bike path in this city of over a quarter million people. I cannot exercise unless I drive to a health club that I had to pay $300 to, and that is four and a half miles away. There is no sense of community here on my street either, because we all have to drive around in our own little worlds that take us fifty miles a day to every corner of the surrounding five miles.
I want to walk somewhere so badly that I could cry. I miss walking! I want the kids to walk to school. I want to walk to the store for a pound of butter. I want to take the kids on a neighborhood stroll or bike. My husband wants to walk to work because it is so close, but none of these things is possible ... And if you saw my neighborhood, you would think that I had it all according to the great American dream.
Unspoken is the answer to the question: "If this is what you want, why did you move there?"
So get in your car. So walk the two blocks to the grocery store. So bike in the street. So bake a casserole and take it over to your neighbors. So exercise in your home. So adapt, improvise, overcome.
Bad city planning exists. Bad architecture exists. Both are depressing and irritating. But, lady, but nothing stops you from going for a walk if you want to. So why donít you take responsibility for your own happiness instead of depending on the architects to do it for you?
I live halfway between an elementary school and a grocery store: it's about three blocks each way. And there were walkers out this morning at six-thirty, even a runner or two.
What we don't have around here is a lot of children: this neighborhood is largely young couples and empty-nesters, and not much in between. And I don't expect this to change any time soon: if you're buying a house in town and you've got school-age kids, your friendly agent will steer you away from my neighborhood, despite its manifest advantages, because it's in an urban school district and you can't possibly want that. No one will mention that this particular school is among the best in the district and competitive with what you'll find on the edges of town; they won't go out of their way to slander the place, exactly, but if you're already thinking the worst, because that's what you've always heard, they'll be happy to agree with you, if only implicitly.
Yeah, of course, "we want what's best for the kids." But the best often comes wrapped in a heavy blanket of the worst, just to keep you on your toes; "I can have everything I want" is pernicious Boomer nonsense that works only if you decide that you don't want all that much.
Of course, if you really need three thousand square feet, sorry, we can't accommodate you, and thanks for dropping by.Posted at 9:06 AM to Dyssynergy
TrackBack: 9:51 AM, 27 June 2006
» A Tulsa mom writes about the impact of suburban sprawl from BatesLine
Found on a MySpace blog during a Technorati search for "Tulsa", this is from Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck: Another word for dependent is burden, and t......[read more]