Have you ever tried calling local officials to deal with one your concerns and got nothing for all your trouble? Many people make calls when they see things going wrong in their communities, and the people in charge do not take adequate action to change things. For example, on my street, people are supposed to pay for a parking pass if they want to use the street parking spaces overnight. But few people follow this rule. That means people like me, the ones who forked over the $100, have to compete for parking spaces with people who are taking them for free. It is aggravating.
Neighbors in Toronto started to notice a disturbing trend. People driving through their street would merely ignore the stop signs that were clearly posted. They didn’t think stopping for the people on that street was worthy of the three seconds it took them to slow down and look out for children.
Because Toronto officials never responded to their complaints, they decided to take matters into their own hands.
Dave Meslin, one of the people who worked to solve the problem, turned to Twitter to tell the world about the great work they did. He posted a message along with several pictures highlighting the problem and what they did about it.
“Got together with some neighbors and transformed a local intersection with chalk & leaves, revealing a surplus surface area of 2,000 square feet which could be re-designed as a parkette, new sidewalks, and much shorter/safer crossings.”
In the image, you see that the street used to have a busy thoroughfare that people would simply speed through. But after doing the work, Meslin showed how Toronto was wasting space that otherwise could have been something special.
In the image, you’ll see that Meslin and his neighbors narrowed the street and created a crosswalk. There is also extra space for a little park. The project united the entire community because they all cared about the safety issue that was threatening their little ones. The kids themselves even got involved. They went around and found leaves that they could use to help the adults create the new street.
“It looked so good, and it was so inspiring to see cars stopping for the first time that we decided to leave it for a few days,” Meslin added. “Traffic instantly adapted to what should be the design of the intersection in the first place.”
Local officials were outraged. They didn’t like that Meslin and his crew had taken matters into their own hands. They wanted to be in charge and to be the ones to make these kinds of decision. But they had to admit that Meslin and his neighbors were on to a great idea. It helped increase safety and also gave the city more space to work with.
Because they changed the space, the town officials are considering putting in a real stop sign, and a crosswalk as the neighbors had designed.
Do you think more communities should get involved in their neighborhoods?