We learned last night the true nature of Semmes Avenue – once the heart of our neighborhood, now just a corridor slicing through it.
It’s Christmas time, so we had a group of children and parents going caroling – not a radical, new subversive transgression; something that probably has happened in our neighborhood every year since it was built. But – we started at a house on the south side of “the Avenue” and were going to sing at several houses on the north side as well.
Crossing the street with children is rough. Crossing with about 20 children, from 2 to 10 is a nightmare.
We could only make half the trip at a time – to the thin median strip (one child had to be quickly yanked by the hood to keep from stepping over.
We got two cars to stop to let us make the second half of the journey – but a driver in the left lane must have irritated by the brief pause, rolled into the right lane and ploughed into the back of one of the stopped cars. (Thankfully that car had good brakes or something, did not roll forward into the kids.)
Neither of the drivers was injured fortunately, and several neighbors ran out to help.
It was pointed out that there was no crosswalk there (there is not one for blocks and blocks and blocks across Semmes) and that drivers don’t expect to slow down, and cars have the right of way. Well, that’s true.
But that needs to change.
Semmes Avenue used to be the heart of the neighborhoods along it. Woodland Heights was built hand in hand with a trolley line linking it to downtown (transit oriented development version 1.) There were shops and businesses lining the street, and people from both sides met in the middle to ride the trolley (I believe that is the origin of the median strip, and of the concrete power poles down the middle.)
Now the two sides seem remote, like different neighborhoods.
Our neighborhoods need their heart back.