Monday, September 01, 2014

Pedestrians Count

Maybe I should say that pedestrians should count, because evidence from a recent walk bring me to conclude they don't actually count at all. In one short stretch of a busy street, trying to walk on the sidewalk, I was confronted by someone whose yard waste took up the entire sidewalk all along the front of their house:

one homeowner with not nearly as much brush but who just as effectively blocked the sidewalk:

and yet another whose lovely plantings encroach so far into the sidewalk area that there's barely room for one person to walk there safely with no median to separate the walker from the traffic:

I've known people like this. I had a next door neighbor once who had her "yard man" move my bags off my lawn and into the street. I moved them back. After she had him move them again I talked to her about how it's illegal to pile the yard waste in the street where it blocks the gutters. She had him move the bags onto the sidewalk. *sigh* I told her that blocking the sidewalk was also not allowed. She said, "But it will kill your grass." I assured her that I didn't mind, that if the grass died it would grow back.

Now here's the telling part: She said, "But I can see it from my window, and it looks ugly." It was all about her and what she wanted.

Such a self-centered mindset is hard to imagine, but there it is; and my experiences walking show that she is not alone.


  1. For the first time ever, I don't own a home with a sidewalk. I live on what I consider a "busy" street. Although it's not THAT busy, it is one of only two streets that connects two intersecting thoroughfares in the neighborhood. I see people pushing strollers, jogging, or walking their dogs on this street as cars whiz by. I was surprised to find no sidewalks or alleys in this neighborhood. So I think you can consider yourself lucky you even HAVE a sidewalk to walk on.

    But I have to agree about the sidewalk photos you showed. Dangerous and difficult to get around. In Wichita, you would not be allowed to leave the tree limbs unbundled. And you would need to put them in trash containers.

    Another thing I noticed is there was no grass between the sidewalk and the street, which I've always had everywhere else. The sidewalk was at least three feet or more from the street, separated by grass. Although the "city" technically owned the area from the sidewalk to the street, you were responsible for mowing it.

    I can't possibly understand your neighbor's attitude. I had a similar, yet different, problem when I moved into my home in Wichita. My big tree has a low hanging branch that didn't allow me to park in the driveway to unload. So, I drove onto the yard (which back then consisted of weeds) to unload the 24' U-Haul truck. The neighbor down the street came and told me it was illegal to park on my lawn. I said I was not leaving it there, but only long enough to unload it. He told me if I didn't move the truck, he would call the police and they would give me a ticket. I tried to be polite, saying I couldn't possibly believe the police would be so unkind as to ticket me while I was trying to unload the contents. With that, I continued to unpack the truck. He stormed off and continued to give me problems till the day he either moved to a retirement village or died. No one was sure what happened to him, but he was definitely the neighborhood Nazi. One nice thing. Time seems to have been on both our sides.

    1. Our sidewalks depend on the neighborhood. Some have sidewalks and grass medians on both sides. Some have neither on either side. Some have sidewalks only on one side of the street. We do have rules about blocking the sidewalks, but enforcement is spotty.

      There always seems to be a neighborhood Nazi! lol The old guy who fills that role in our current neighborhood cares a lot about where people park, especially if the driver is young and female. *sigh* Busybodies.

  2. You don´t really see people putting trash out like that where I live. There are trashcollectors for household garbage, but there are strict regulations about how that is kept, to keep animals away. Large trash like the stuff in your photos must be taken by you to a recycling station, even garden trash.

    Being someone who lives in a flat and does a paper round in my neighbourhood, my pet peeve is when people put their trash in the joint stairwell (every stairwell joins between 6 and 35 flats in this area) in the evening, meaning to take it to the trash hut in the morning. They don´t want it in their flats because of the putrid smells, but it´s ok to share with the neighbours, it seems. Wicked behaviour.

    1. Our city requires us to use wheeled garbage containers that we take to the street for pick-up weekly. We're supposed to take it out to the street the night before pick-up and bring the thing back up to the house sometime on the day of pick-up.

      Yard waste is supposed to be piled at the front of our yards but isn't supposed to be placed where it blocks public access to sidewalks or where it blocks the gutters. It's picked up by the city but not regularly and sometimes not often. Code enforcement is selective in their enforcement. I've heard they sometimes respond to formal complaints, but to register a complaint you have to provide your full name/address/phone#. I think that's probably to avoid nuisance calls, but I've just been unwilling to go on record as the complaining party.