I've been thinking lately about some of the streets I have resided on in the past 20 years. I keep thinking about various factors that make them liveable and bearable... and what is definitely hard to live with:
- 25 years ago I lived in a small Canadian city, on a street in an older working class district. The streets were narrow, there was virtually no lawn on the front of these single family dwelling and there were always a lot of people in the streets. Most of them were kids. Occasionally, the kids would hijack the street and turn it into a street hockey arena. Car drivers would get a little upset about having to share the street... but they always slowed down and worked their way quitely through.
- 15 years ago, I lived on a busy mid town intersection in Des Moines. Lot of college kid apartments. I was living in a large old house with virtually no lawn (yipee!!) but it was noisy. No place for the kids to play, but there were many people walking on the street. One vivid memory when I first arrived is a police chase that ended in the church parking lot next door with a shootout. There were a few people travelling on the streets, but less than in Canada.
- 9 years ago I moved to a quite older suburb that feels like the city, but has some slightly different features. All houses have a 60 lawn on the front and probably 40-60 feet in the back (yes, I bought a lawn mower ). It's a nice tree street out front, but there's no sidewalk and the street is narrow. Lately, there are more and more people in the street, expecially cyclists who seem to use it as a thoroughfare. But also walkers... who have to keep in the street. Most of the walkers seem to use it for recreation, not transportation. The big benefit is that it slows cars down quite a bit, so almost none of them can barrel through.
One problem with all these streets is the level of noise. In all cases, I lived close to major thoroughfares and the noise was constant.
Another problem is that kids had to be aware of dangers travelling anywhere... even close to home. Usually schools were a good distance and the kids couldn't walk to school.
I'm just wondering what features would make different streets you lived on more liveable.