We live in a fairly hilly neighborhood, and if you’re walking or biking a good strategy is to get up to one of the highest streets and go north or south from there. For years my favorite route to get to Trader Joe’s or other parts of Capitol Hill has been to take 17th, including the sidewalk that runs between TT Minor and its little playfield. A lack of car traffic and the scenic downtown views from the playfield are two of the main advantages there.
But starting with the new school year, they’ve started locking the gates there during the daytime, keeping neighborhood folks from passing through.
From the schools perspective, it’s easy to understand why. The safety of the kids is very important, “won’t someone please think of the children!”, etc.
But the cranky old man in me wonders why things are so different this year vs. the previous scores of years the school has been there. Have things really changed so much in 2008 that kids can’t be kept safe without cutting off a good pedestrian route for the rest of the neighborhood?
Street and alley vacations are coming up more and more as the city grows. And it starts to really have an impact on the feasibility of non-motorized transportation when even publicly owned mega-blocks start locking down the right-of-ways through the neighborhood.