Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Street Corner Gardens

Victoria BC is bedecked with hanging baskets of flowers -- not only on front porches and eaves of houses but on almost every lamp post in the business district. That is my first image of the city. Here our city fathers weren't thinking horticulture when they proposed the little street corner gardens that bracket the parking margins on downtown streets. No, they wanted to slow down drivers speeding through the center of town -- and give pedestrians a bit of protection as they edge out into the street. The gardens are the frosting on the cake.

But the result is, I think, rather pleasant. As soon as the first tulips and daffodils emerge, our street corners come alive with color.

The greenery is special in the middle of summer when the Arizona sun beats down. Don't forget, we're nearly one mile closer to the sun than folks down in the Valley.

If our city fathers decide to expand their street corner gardens to a few more intersections, I'll vote for that! But currently, city council members are more enamoured of roundabouts to replace major intersections and traffic lights north of the center of town. This proposal is as controversial as the little gardens jutting out into the street were when introduced. Q: will the roundabouts eventually evolve from bone of contention into everyday fixtures?

Notes: A new organization and weekend of programs suddenly emerged out of the blue, publicity-wise at least. The Chaparral Music Fest will present a series of programs June 4-9 at various venues -- unfortunately competing with the Tsunami on the Square on Saturday. Later correction: The TontheS is Saturday, June 16 -- I stand corrected! Find out more about the Fest by listening to the podcasts at Prescott Arts Beat. For a totally different treat, visit my friend k who took a lot of pictures of a small terrarium chock full of baby praying mantises. Talk of synchonicity -- I saw my very first baby mantid just the other day. The little fellow was only about 1/4" long.


Anonymous said...

Germany seem to be going crazy over roundabouts, or traffic circles as we call them. I didn't like them at first, but I have to admit, they do help the flow of traffic, as opposed to stop lights. Works great here, don't know about you neck of the woods.

Avus said...

I like the "traffic gardens" idea. Holland has gone a long way in that direction to remove all road markings and traffic signs and "ruralise" towns to make the pedestrian king. It seems to work.

They shut down the traffic lights on a large roundabout here, whilst roadworks were in progress - result, no more traffic jams and queues. They are not replacing the traffic lights - sanity!

Chickenbells said...

Good lord...are they really thinking of putting round abouts downtown? Yikes...people are having a hard enough time not hitting the planters as it is. After having a shop downtown for 12+ years, and all of that time hearing about the lack of parking...I, as most of us business owners, was confused because we lost 2 parking places per. street on that one. The planters are beautiful (especially when the town piles all the left over snow from the roads on to the dormant but living plants during the winder) but I really thought they could have planted more trees on the sidewalks and left the planters out completely (like up in Flag?) It will be interesting to see what else they dream up...

Granny J said...

Steve -- I recall seeing roundabouts in New England back in the days when I travelled on business. At the time, I thought them rather strange.

Avus -- ruralification in the Netherlands... Californication in Prescott. Change is away of life here and abroad!

Chickenbells -- I'm sorry to have alarmed you with talk of more madness on the part of our city fathers. I think they're only talking about the north end of town where it's flat enough & there's still open real estate for fast condemnation. Can you imagine a roundabout anywhere on the White Spar?

coyoteradiotheater said...

Probably just another example of the Dutch being practical and humanizing and American's screaming that we can't possibly do that!

sadly, Holland is not populated by the French or we could easily segue into mocking them and avoid the vague sense of inferiority they give us, like Canada.

Granny J said...

OK, Mr.Coyote, I'll give the Canadians their due: they have a far more civilized approach to cheddar cheese than we do in this country. 12-year old, yet!

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