Two Perils of Sub-urban Life

There are a number of things about the way our suburban areas have developed here in the Midwest that irk me. Far too many to list in a blog. So I will simply mention two. 1. The world is not a trashcan! I took a walk today from my office to a nearby coffee shop for an espresso. The weather was unusually nice and so I thought I'd get out there. I should have counted, because I think it would have been astonishing to post how many pieces of trash I passed on the way there and back. I did take note during one portion and saw: a beer can, a soda cup, a cigarette lighter, two product manuals of some sort, a couple of straws, and about 20 cigarette butts. What is up with that? The way I was raised, it was bad to litter. Unless it was biodegradable (an apple core was ok) out my car window was not an option. When did it ever become ok to consider anywhere external (i.e., not my house or my car or my yard) an appropriate place for my junk? Was anyone really raised that way? "Sure, honey, we throw our trash in the parking lot. They have maids that will come get it; go ahead." Oh wait, no of course no one was ever told that because we all know better. Yet, I still see it all the time. I could launch into the problems with our throw-away society, but I'll save that for another blog. 2. Abruptly ending sidewalks. This drives me batty. It is just further evidence that most Midwestern areas are designed for cars, not people. I had to walk in the street or grass 3 times in one mile because the sidewalk would just suddenly end in grass. I could see where the sidewalk picked up again. Why do they do this?? Why would you omit several sections of the sidewalk only to pick it up again in 50 feet? Is this some kind of forced pedestrian off-roading? Was it poor planning in the amount of concrete mix? Or maybe they are now using some complex algorithm that shows that sidewalks last longer if you keep them non-contiguous. I do not feel like it is a particularly novel concept to have a sidewalk that goes from street to street, without stopping halfway there to force you into the scraggly new-sod grass. Or muddy puddle with three straws and a McDonalds wrapper in it. If that is the case, why have sidewalks at all? Why not just have folks walk in the street in the first place? I suppose this is why I've never been asked to be a City Planner. Clearly, I just don't get it. Ok, I feel better now.

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