John and I will celebrate our 6 year anniversary in This House on September 30. We like our big master bedroom, but we wish the house itself were smaller. We really enjoy being so close to the mountain, yet we wish we could slow the traffic on our street. Last year we found a smaller house on a quiet street that we wanted to buy, but it sold before ours did so we took ours off the market and decided to just enjoy it.
Clearly we can’t shrink the house. But I wanted to try to do something about the traffic. So I sent an email to my city councilman Greg Stanton describing the view out my window: Humvees and BMW’s with text-messaging drivers going 20 MPH over the speed limit. I asked Greg if there was anything he could do. The speed limit is 25 MPH, but some cars were driving as fast as 60.
Councilman Stanton replied to my email the next day. He said he would be happy to address the issue. He set up a neighborhood meeting at my house. Greg brought Kerry Wilcoxon to meet the neighbors. Kerry is in charge of the Phoenix Traffic Abatement Program, which uses bond money to build traffic circles and other impediments to slow traffic on streets that don’t qualify for speed bumps. Greg and Kerry told us they could build a traffic circle, as long as I gathered about a bajillion signatures.
So I did. For the first petition I needed people in the general area to agree that the City of Phoenix should draw up a design. Those signatures took a while to gather, especially one required signature from a homeowner who was away for 2 months at his house in Mexico. But soon I had the petition in Kerry’s hands, and his engineers went to work. Once the plan was drawn, I needed to gather 40 more signatures indicating that we all wanted a temporary structure to be installed so we could test it. Those signatures were easy to gather, and John even helped me and we got them in one afternoon.
Well, after 80 signatures, 10 months, 3 neighborhood meetings, and 1 dissenting neighbor who thinks I am the devil, today they are installing the temporary structure. I ate my morning snack out in the front yard so I could watch the crew installing the signs and barriers.
It’s fun watching the cars whip down the street and slam on their brakes when they see the new structure. Lots of soccer moms in Yukons and Suburbans were on their cell phones and looked up just in time to slow from 45 MPH to the 15 MPH required to safely maneuver the circle. After a few months, I will need to gather another round of signatures and then the city will install a permanent structure. In the meantime, we shall see if this helps. I took this picture of a man in his Porsche Cayenne. He smiled and waved. I hope he continues to enjoy the Traffic Circle, because I think I will.