Thursday, September 08, 2005

Neighborhood Project

Part of what makes our place a home is being part of the community at large. I read this week from That Old House's blog that what she is most sad about is losing is her community that she loved. This week I really felt I knew what she meant.

On Tuesday night at about 7:30pm Steve and I were lounging watching TV reading magazines etc... when we heard this incrediby loud screeching of tires. It's amazing how long that can seem to go on. I found myself bracing for the sound of metal on metal that is inevitable when 2 cars collide, but it didn't happen.

I said to Steve, "Did you hear a crash?" He said he heard a thud, which would not be a good thing. So we went outside to see if everything was okay. Well, it wasn't. There was an old man lying in the street and he had been hit while crossing by a car going about 35-45mph. He was hit so hard that he flew way up in the air from eyewitness accounts. There were at least 30 people gathered waiting for the ambulance and police to arrive. I saw neighbors, some I know and some I don't. I saw friends from the CAPs meetings there. My neighbor Dave stepped in to help calm the driver, who was acting kind of stangely down.

I wish I could tell you the man survived, but he didn't. He was 93 years old and lived in the senior building right there. He was hit right near his building and died an hour later at the hospital. A small little tragedy in our neighborhood. It seems small compared to some others, but it was close to home.

I have always thought there should be stop signs at that corner and this tells me I was right. I have already emailed my neighborhood group and called the Alderman's office. Tonight Steve and I stood out on the corner with our dogs and a petition getting signatures to add stop signs to that intersection. I talked to new condo owners, so-called fringe elements, working people, parents, and even some young "gangbanger" types. Most people signed. And I felt like it was a good thing.

One of our neighborhood watchdogs put a post on his blog about it. He's a good guy, just a little overzealous sometimes. But he cares alot. He is really good at roasting authority figures such as the Police and Alderman and although I don't approach things the same way, I can appreciate what he does.

A neighborhood. A community. A living breathing city. I felt like hanging out on the corner and this being a big city like New Orleans, I could imagine what was lost there a little more.


derek said...

It's amazing it takes something tragic for something like a stop sign to be put in. A young mother was hit by a car in front of our house a while back, chasing her toddler, who ran in to the street. Now there are signs and a painted crosswalk, and a light is supposed to be planned. I don't know if it would have saved her, it definitely seems to be helping now though.

Anonymous said...

And events that focus the neighborhood reinforce why I choose to live and restore my old house in an urban neighborhood. Many people that choose to live in these neighborhoods take the time to know their neighbors and make positive change via true efforts and not by writing a check - they truly care about the neighborhood they live in.

I'm so sorry to hear about the tragedy that happened in your neighborhood. Keep up your efforts and concerns for your neighborhood.

Kristin said...

What a horrible thing. I'm glad you guys are doing something to stop this from happening again.