Friday, August 20, 2010

So Far So Good?

After whining about Parker's soccer practices being in pretty much the most inconvenient park in town (seriously, it would be easier to sign him up for Urbana soccer), I have decided to embrase the location (somewhat) for Parker's sake.  Both Rob and I had our say and it is clear that Champaign Park District is not interested in listening.  I will say that I'm disappointed with CPD and think they should be supporting neighborhood communities by creating teams and locating practices at neighborhood parks.  How cool would that be?  Kids playing soccer with other children from their neighborhood.  Talk about team building.  It could also help some of our underused parks and give older kids a productive purpose for being there.  Alas, even our schools are not neighborhood schools anymore so this is a hard sell.  We have created neighborhoods (such as the one Parker has to go to for practice) which are so economically and in some cases racially homogeneous, that equality is not found in our schools and I'm sure some would call foul at the idea of neighborhood soccer teams.  Would the "rich" kids from SW Champaign always win?  Is winning the point?  Would money make a difference?  Soccer is supposed to be the universal sport of the every(wo)man.  Income shouldn't be an issue.

We intentionally live in a diverse part of town, but unfortunately, neighborhoods like ours are harder and harder to come by.  It isn't just our twin cities, this is an issue all over the country.  This trend makes life for everyone more motor vehicle centered.  When we move everything out of our neighborhoods, we end up with neighborhoods which aren't bike/pedestrian friendly.  It isn't a priority.  No one bikes/walks anyway because everything they need is farther away.  Restaurants, stores, etc. then become located across busy four-lane roads and the idea of using anything besides a car seems ridiculous.  The more we drive, the less connected to our neighbors, we tend to be.  We drive all over town, drive into our garage attached to our house, and are safely inside before we see anyone outside our secure little bubble.  Sigh.  I have hopes this trend might be ending, but it literally makes me sick to my stomach to cycling in the neighborhood with its wide streets which encourage cars to drive faster so they have to make the streets winding and circle drives so it is like a rat maze to find the park.  On these big wide streets, I have cars zipping me closer than they do in town.

The worst part of my cycling trip to SW soccerville is Windsor Rd.  I find the bike lane quite scary on this section (near The Crossing), especially with children.  The bike lane is narrow with a pretty deep ditch to the right and cars buzzing on the left.  It is quite busy, cars go far faster than the speed limit and taking the lane to turn left is terrifying.  Even with the bike lane, it is clear people don't expect to see cyclists there.  Okay, so I guess I still have a ways to go as far as embracing the location.  On the plus side, I see more visits to my father's house since we go through his neighborhood.  Parker is definitely tired after the ride there, soccer practice, ride home.  He has a congenital heart defect, but doesn't have any physical restrictions, but I still worry a bit on 90 degree days.

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