My new best friend at the Vancouver city sign department: John. He moved a stop sign at my request. As a citizen of the city, I had made a difference.
As George Bernard Shaw said:
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
I want to be that (wo)man. To see a problem in the world and try to change it because it doesn’t work for me. I am tired of saying: “that’s ok, I’ll adjust and be more aware .”
But no longer. I am making changes to the world I live in – albeit small ones.
Move that STOP Sign
A stop sign, placed in an ill-thought-out position, needed to be moved. Where a bike path crossed a sidewalk, a stop sign was situated after the sidewalk, not before. After numerous mornings of walking along the sidewalk and almost being careened by cyclists barreling across my path, I was feeling ‘unreasonable.’
I phoned the city’s 311 number and requested that the sign be moved to a more logical place. No more stopping for cyclists, I wanted them to ‘STOP’ for me. Oh, let me clarify – they paused to check for vehicles, because being hit by a car would ruin the cyclist’s day.
And to further my ‘unreasonableness,’ I ask: would a cyclist feel bad about hurting or even startling someone? The word I’m looking for is empathy – a misunderstood word. My definition:
Who the hell wants to be hit or startled by a fast-moving bicycle while walking on the sidewalk?
Since the sign was re-positioned, now a cyclist must watch for pedestrians (not just for the cars that may hit him/her/cyclist). But the foreign concept of stopping – so as not to maim a pedestrian, (also known as a pregnant woman, an old lady, an old man, a child, a human being) casually strolling along the sidewalk – still seems as complicated as a mathematical formula expressing a theory in quantum physics.
Stop \ˈstäp\: to not do something you had been doing before.
Maybe the stop sign should be bigger to make room for the definition since the meaning seems to have been lost.
My head is held high when I walk by the Chilco Parkette. Even though some would say I was being unreasonable in my need to be noticed, I believe it made somewhat of a difference.
Now all I have to do is get the city to trim the branches of the tree so the stop sign isn’t hidden from view. Oh well…