There are no sidewalks here

So we’ve lived in the ‘burbs for a couple weeks now, and are getting into something resembling a routine.

And I feel confident in my assessment that I am not built for this place. Or rather, this place is not built for me.

I understand that we’ve been a bit spoiled with our central location and not actually having to leave the building to go to the grocery or drug store, but that’s not actually what I’m missing.

I miss neighbourhood planning that fosters community, rather than animosity.

There are no sidewalks here.

Ok, that’s not entirely true, but the roadways are fully designed for cars, and walking feels like an exercise in risk-taking, rather than a viable way to run errands or explore the area.

There is a trail nearby where we’ve walked the dog, and shared smiles with the few other dog owners we’ve seen there. But it’s all a bit soured when walking the dog to the trail, and she inevitably poops as dogs do, and someone driving by feels the need to holler (from his extra large truck, natch) “PICK IT UP!”

Which of course, we did. As we always do. But it’s obvious on that walk, and elsewhere, that poop-scoopers are in the minority. Because there are NO garbage cans to be found. There is a dumpster at a nearby elementary school if you hop a couple fences. And there is one about 750 metres down the trail (once you’ve gotten to the trail). Other than that, nothing for a few kilometres in any direction.

No there are no garbage cans, not even near the playground at that elementary school. The sidewalks (there are a few) also don’t connect in any meaningful way. They seem to be there for optics, rather than use.

Before I moved to Kitsilano, I thought that it was necessary to spend a lot of time in a community and that one had to make a big effort to get out do things to meet people. But when you live in an area that facilitates running into your neighbours while out and about, seeing the same people at the dog park, and getting to know your neighbourhood shopkeepers (because there are neighbourhood shops, not just big box stores a few kilometres away), it’s actually no effort at all.

And now that I’m in the suburbs, I’m saddened to be reminded that my most recent experience is the exception, rather than the norm.

But at least it’s a good reminder of what’s going to be really important when deciding which neighbourhood we end up in next.

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One thought on “There are no sidewalks here

  1. It’s like you stole this out of my head. I have ranted many a time about this in Cloverdale — Cloverdale, where it’s supposed to have “small town charm”. And sure, the 6 streets that make up the downtown area are perfectly pedestrian friendly, but nobody actually lives there. The part where people live, shop, eat, & work are so frigging pedestrian unfriendly it blows me away.

    I’ll take the big mean city any day, thanks.

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