Traffic? Lots of it. How about a lemonade stand to calm the traffic down?

That's what the kids on Mabery Road have done for two weekends straight, including the Memorial Day holiday today. They sold a lot of lemonade, got neighbors to gather, made new friends, and effectively calmed the beach traffic down to safe speeds.

For those of you who like a little theory with your traffic calming news, the case has long been proven that too much traffic damages communities. in his 1981 landmark study, "Livable Streets", U.C. Berkeley professor Don Appleyard showed that the more traffic on a street, the less neighbors knew and interacted with each other. It makes sense. The threat of speeding traffic keeps the elderly and families with kids inside; the result is a street apparently empty of people, which only encourages faster driving. And so the vicious cycle continues, until traffic completely dominates the street. And the sense of community is destroyed.

The Mabery lemonade stand was a wonderful demonstration of reversing this trend. The kids enthusiastically made signs, held them up, called out "lemonade" and "slow down for kids". Most drivers  slowed down. There were lots of smiles from drivers and passengers. Windows got rolled down. Conversations started. Many drivers pulled over for a 50¢ cup of Rosewater, aka delicious cold lemonade. Meanwhile, the neighborhood itself came out for an impromptu rolling party - anywhere from 8 to 12 people at a time. News was exchanged. Introductions were made. Other neighbors driving by waved or called out supportive comments.

Traffic was effectively calmed - average speeds were dramatically reduced. A sense of community was reinforced. The kids helped take the street back.  We might just have some hope for a livable street again, despite the PCH construction. 

The Mabery / Ocean Way loop has 60 homes on it, with dozens of kids and dogs. The street is a favorite for walkers, joggers, dog owners, and cyclists. There's no reason we should let it become overrun with speeding cars who are using it to shave a minute or two off their commute. And that's true for the Canyon as a whole.

Next Traffic Post: what we can do about it.


AuthorDoug Suisman