A few months ago, some stakes appeared in our yard that were an ominous sign, especially for my pine trees. After calling the city, my fears were confirmed: the stakes represented where near curb and gutter would be put in, including a new sidewalk and parking strip. I know this sounds like a positive thing, and ordinarily, it would be. But, I had a beef with the placement. For a street the size of mine, I'm supposed to have 35' between my house and the sidewalk. I would have 25 feet. Which sounds decent sized, but really, it would take out a good chunk of my front yard and driveway. On the plus side, the have to move the power pole, and the public works guys are working with me to make the power company move the pole so it's not in the middle of my driveway. The other sad thing is that my two enormous pine trees would be cut down. It all seemed fairly needless, since across the street is just an empty field.
It could be worse though; my neighbor on the corner will be less than 9 feet from the sidewalk. She is renting and can move when her lease is up.
I decided to address city council with my concerns, and I brought a few neighbors along. I woke up yesterday morning, knowing I was on the agenda, and felt really depressed and hopeless about the whole thing.
My neighbors all spoke to the council, as well as I did, bringing up really great points. The city council seemed genuinely appalled at how close our houses would be to the road, and the safety impact. However, they also saw my hopeless side- we are growing, and as much as I'd like to pretend otherwise, my road is a collector road and needs to accommodate the growth. They acknowledged that the situation was lose-lose, and the only way to truly fix it was to go back in time and build the houses further back. If they were to go west, the cost was pretty prohibitive. That sucks, and I can understand why that's not a viable alternative.
Feeling like my concerns were legitimate made me feel a lot better, even if I wasn't terribly happy with the compromise. And honestly, if I were an objective party, I probably would've come up with the exact same compromise. We will not have a parking strip, just sidewalk, curb and gutter. It makes the yard at least that much bigger, which will help. They will also paint lines in the road, which will give a 9' parking lane on either side, which will hopefully slow traffic down a little.
My friend who was at the meeting now thinks I should run for city council- there's two seats opening up.