In July, we had a concerned resident write in about children playing on our side streets by park areas. She expressed concern for chidren’s safety and felt that the appropriate place for play is in residential yards or playgrounds, not on the roads. This month, one of our residents has written in with another perspective – some activities such as rollerblading, cycling, etc are best played on an asphalt surface which means some play will be on our residential roads.
As for my thoughts, I am a proponent of having children play and be active in our community and that includes having them playing on our quieter streets. On a large scale thought, I feel that children playing in visible areas makes for very healthy communities. Grassroots organizations such as Paint the Pavement (paintthepavement.org), as well as police organizations have noted that visually active communities (kids playing, parents visible, community’s that display art and are involved) are known to be safer communities because they demonstrate that the community cares and the residents look out for one another, which reduces the likelihood of vandalism and crime.
On a smaller scale, I think that children playing (with supervision and education) on a road versus a contained “safe” zone promotes an entirely different skill set. Children have to learn to be aware of potential danger around them and make safe choices, they get to practice being active on a larger level due to more space and they can potentially develop community friendships by joining a larger neighbourhood group that is hard to support in our tiny backyards. All of these skills need practice to be developed – common sense is something developed due to environment, not something we are born with – and in this age of driving everywhere and finishing our day by pulling into our front garages, I think front street play is more imperative than ever.
As for the parents who take the time to put up a “Kids at Play” sign on the street as one of our families do on my street, I’d like to say thanks. I don’t take it as an admonition that I am doing something wrong as I drive onto a street. I take it as a heads-up that this is a kid-active zone and I reduce my speed even more. Back in the day, most drivers did this automatically because many of our residential streets were crawling with kids. Today, it’s so rare, we need signs to help us to slow down and look for them. It’s so rare that motorists have forgotten the joy of being a kid playing on the street and feel irritated that they have to slow down for the last 5 minutes of their drive home. Okay, that statement was a little judgmental!
Anyway, those are my thoughts on the subject. I could add lots more but I’ll spare you all. If you’d like to chime in, make sure to send us an email or post your thoughts on the website. Until next month, all the best to you and yours.
P.S. Just an FYI to motorists who haven’t heard – school zone times have changed across the province to 7:30am – 5:00pm. The old times started at 8:00am.
Comments submitted from the email@example.com address.
September 9th – MB
Dear MB & Tuscany Residents,
From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank those parents who care so much about our children’s safety that they would go out of their way to buy a sign reminding fellow drivers that there are kids at play. The first time I saw one of these florescent green signs on our street I thought it was a fantastic idea! Kudos to you!
We specifically built our house on a street that we felt would be safe for our kids to be able to play on. All of our children play on the street in front of our house/park and they will continue to do so. Have you ever tried playing ‘street’ hockey or riding a bike on park grass? We live on a street exploding with children and to us, there is nothing more wonderful than hearing children play happily outside in the park OR on the street.
When you drive into a quiet street with a playground zone and a bunch of children playing, take the extra 30 seconds to slow down and wait for the children to move. If you would like to draw attention to something important, what about all the yahoos who rip through the Playground Zones with no cares but their own?
There are much bigger things to complain about in this world of ours.
September 6th – RV
Since I live on the same street that is being described in the previous articles, I felt that I should voice my opinion.
I grew up playing hockey and performing bicycle jumps on our quiet street. I still occasionally play hockey on the street!
So, I have to agree with some parts of everyone’s previous message. I totally encourage play on the streets, but only in a safe and educated manner.
I drive at 20kms when I come down my street and I still have to slam on the brakes very often,
because some children are driving their bicycles from the park or their driveway onto the street in front of me, without looking to see if a vehicle is approaching.
This concerns me, as I would not want to see a child injured because he/she was not taught that a street is indeed a dangerous place and certain safety rules need to be followed.
The person that stated that there is no law against playing on the street is correct. But, the law also states that vehicles have the right of way, and bicycles using the road must obay the rules of the road.
I’ve had to honk my horn at some children while they were playing hockey, because they ignored my presence and I had to come to a complete stop. This resulted in one of the children giving me the finger.
At other times, I get dirty looks from the children because I’m interrupting what they are doing.
Like I said, I have nothing against playing on the street, just educate your children that cars have the right of way and should look-out for them and give way.
It’s all about staying alive.
August 31st – Pamela
I read my September Issue of the Tuscany Sun today and was so infuriated to read that parents actually thought and expressed that it was ok for children to play on the roads.
ROADS ARE NOT FOR CHILDREN!!
I remember growing up and having responsible parents who ALWAYS stressed to not play in the roads and to look both ways before crossing the street. In today’s day and age with the population drastically increased and therefore traffic is also increased, where oh where would they ever get the idea that it is ok for their children to commandeer our roads?
“Rollerblading and cycling, etc are best played on an asphalt surface which means some play will be on our residential roads” ROADS are for cars and driving not kiddie activities.
YOU had the children. It is YOUR responsibility to get off your butt and take them to an appropriate location. You are simply using the road as a backyard so YOU don’t have to actually get them to a skateboard park or take them out on one of many walkways, etc. in our community.
Use the school playgrounds. Enroll them in hockey leagues or baseball. Expecting drivers to babysit your children is unbelievable.
As for RH, I for one, intend to call the police each and every time I encounter an A-frame board saying “children at play” in the middle of the road, or am faced with children playing on the road with their parents approval. THEY ARE BEING A NUISANCE AND THEIR PARENTS SHOULD BE INSTRUCTING THEM TO PLAY ANYWHERE OTHER THAN THE ROAD! The absolute nerve in thinking that the rest of the street and neighbours would want to put up with that! Some of us don’t have children and do not want to be doing the parenting for those lazy ones who plunk their kids in the middle of the road and think the community should take care of them.
Like I said, EVERY TIME I run into this, I will call police.
Unbelievable that you would put your kids at such risk. My aunt was just hit by a car and she is in ICU with a broken neck, a broken back, and every rib she has is broken! Wake up people.
August 30th – FM
I read the arguments on your last issue, the pros and the cons, about kids playing in the street. Is one of the cases where RH and MB are both right and wrong. Is kind of sad that we have to always go to the pass to remember the good times we had when we were kids and were able to play practically anywhere we want. Times has changed and this is a different society.
I am positive that RH is a sound parent taking good care of their kids. I don’t think it could be nothing more enjoyable to see your kids playing anywhere. However, there two situations that comes to mind: why do we have parks, some small, some huge, built in our community ?? why do we have a Tuscany club with all the amenities ?? .Why we take such good care of the coulee ??.
RH, I understand your frustration, but between seeing my kids playing in the park and see my kids under a car, I take the first option. We can have all the signs you want. We can have all the speed bumps. The fact is that is going to be a car around the corner that won’t be able to stop or it didn’t see the car and then what ??
Let’s try to enforce the speed limit in this community but kids belong in the park not in the streets.
Emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org on October 6th.
I have just finished reading various letters written in to the Tuscany CA, and am slightly upset by all the drivers who have written in to say they will “call the police” next time they see children playing on the road. Don’t you think that is an over-reaction? First of all, I am not a parent yet, but I understand that sometimes children do no always think before they act, regardless of how their parents brought them up. Next, calling the police is definitely a waste of their time, and a waste of the phone lines for which someone in life-or-death situations could be using.
I have seen plenty of vehicles driving past my house in faster than legal speeds, and those are whom you should be calling the police for. Speed limits in residential areas are posted for a reason, and that is to take into account that there will be children close by! As an adult and a responsible driver, YOU are the ones who should be paying attention.
Emailed to email@example.com on October 4.
Having lived in Tuscany for 12 years, I am stunned to discover how many anti-child, anti-social nuts have invaded our community. Tuscany has always been a great place to raise children and we have experienced none of the “problems” described in previous comments regarding children playing in the streets.
“Roads are not for Children!” Pamela, who SHOUTS and threatens to call the police every time she sees a kid, sounds like she needs ANGER MANAGEMENT classes. Shall we call the police whenever she steps onto the “ROAD” to enter her vehicle? Crosses over the visit a neighbor? If she does not believe our children have the same rights she does, perhaps “Tuscany is not for Pamela!”
RV has to “slam on the brakes very often” — at “20kms” no less — and has to honk to get children to move? Methinks RV needs to ease up on the caffeine. Driving lessons and a eye exam might be in order, too. I drive a lot, and certainly drive in Tuscany a lot, and have never had to come close to slamming on the brakes for children.
Parents are using common sense. Younger children are supervised and older ones know how to watch for traffic. Children aren’t playing on the busier main routes. While unauthorized signs should not be on the roadway, what is the problem with a reminder to watch for children on someone’s own property?
Parents are wary of sending children unsupervised to playgrounds — or anywhere else — these days. (After reading some of these kid-hating rants, we will be even more wary).
Emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org on October 1.
Having read the articles in this months Tuscany Sun about children using the road as a playground, as a parent, I have never ever allowed my daughter to play on the road and I feel there have been some valid points made in Octobers issue. With these points in mind, it is time that Tuscany had a hockey facility like the ones in neighbouring communities. As an example, look at Silver Springs, they have a hockey facility and an outdoor swimming pool and the residents do not have the $250+ yearly fee so I am sure Tuscany can afford to build such a facility.
As for slowing down for children playing, drivers should slow down and prepare for the unexpected. Children are children and on an impulse can run across the road to their friends house without even thinking about it. I have seen people drive to fast for this residential area, even though they were probably driving at the 50kph, the speed limit is the maximum limit and does not mean you should be driving at that speed. Just because there may/or may not be a law against children playing in the road, that does not mean you will not see a child run across the road at the last minute. Drivers these days are all to pre-occupied with fiddling with their hair, messing with their GPS, having pointless unimportant chatting and texting conversations with their friends that the last thing on their tiny mind is what could happen when driving.
There are many open play areas, playgrounds and pathways in Tuscany and in neighbouring communities. Parents should use them along with their children. They are there for all our enjoyment whether you have children or not, after all, it was your tax dollars which paid for them!
Emailed to email@example.com on September 29.
I am writing in response to “Pamela” regarding the issue of kids playing on the road in our neighborhood. It is apparent she (and perhaps others) have a lot of anger regarding this issue and I’d like to attempt to bring the anger level down, shed some further light on the realities of the situation, and appeal to reason.
I am one of the parents that does let her almost 7 year old play with her neighborhood friends in front of our house; and yes this does sometimes mean they are on the road on their bikes, scooters etc. If we lived on a busy road that was a thoroughfare this would not be the case – and I know I speak for my neighbors as well as there have been many discussions on our block about this issue.
On our particular street, traffic for the most part is not an issue. We do live in a playground zone, which is more of an issue than our kids being on the road, as many people ignore the speed limit. By the time the traffic is picking up i.e. the dinner hour the kids are back in the house anyway.
Why do I allow this, knowing the dangers of the road and that “technically” yes, the road is meant for cars, not kids? Because it works on our particular street. Should it be allowed on any given street in Tuscany? Absolutely not.
On our block, on any given day after school or a weekend there could be 10+ kids outside wanting to burn off some energy. I know my neighbors and their kids, I trust them and their parenting and we are of like mind on this issue. I.E. if you want to scooter on the road, fine, but be watchful and respectful of traffic for their own safety and as a matter of respect to drivers.
Could they play in someone’s yard? They could and they do, but this is not always feasible when they all want to play together. Secondly, they are active kids in that they want to be riding bikes, skateboarding etc. when the weather allows, which obviously is not possible in someone’s yard.
Could they go to the school yard to scooter and ride bikes? They could, however this is frankly far more unsafe than them being outside in the front where they can be supervised. They are not yet old enough to be on their own due to the crazies that exist in our society, nor can they necessarily be trusted to always make appropriate decisions about right and wrong. And so, out on the front street or in the park under the watchful eye of their parents is still the best place. To expect 10+ kids of varying ages, to find something fun and active to do on a 2 foot wide sidewalk and not get in each others way is ridiculous. The secondary benefit to having them where we can see them, is that they KNOW they are being watched and this elicits better behavior. Not one of us on the street has any problem whatsoever correcting behavior of any child on the block that is inappropriate or unsafe and they know it.
To suggest that we should take them to a skate park or to the school yard is a great idea in theory, but the realities of everyday life does not allow for that most days. We all have a multitude of responsibilities – there’s dinner to be made, homework, baths, other children to care for – playing outside for 1⁄2 hour is far more reasonable than driving to a skate park 20 miles away.
In addition to the fresh air and exercise, kids learn many valuable skills through play with others – how to deal with conflicts with their peers, sharing, taking turns, the importance of being kind to others, how to deal with the hurts that kids can and will inflict upon each other emotionally. These are tough lessons that are only learned through experience with and guidance from the adults around them. These are not lessons they can learn by sitting in the house in front of a computer or the TV.
The lazy parents in my opinion Pamela, are the ones who allow hours and hours of T.V. and computer time because they can’t be bothered to supervise and/or interact with their children. T.V., computers, video games etc. are a reality of the times we live in, and are not in and of themselves “bad” with appropriate limitations, but certainly should not replace interaction with their family and friends. The parents I take issue with, are the ones who allow their children, some of whom appear to be FAR too young to be out on the streets on their own, to roam the neighborhood freely, at all hours of the day and night, (in many cases improperly dressed for the weather I might add) completely unaware what their kids are up to. WE on our block, end up dealing with and correcting these children because WE ARE parenting. These are the irresponsible ones.
To suggest our kids are running through the streets recklessly, creating a nuisance and putting their lives at risk, all with the OK from their parents, is simply completely untrue. There are adults present, especially if they are scootering or skateboarding on the road. The sign you mention on the road (and it is NOT typically in the middle of the road but on the corner) is simply an extra warning to drivers that there are children in the area and to be extra cautious. This is not uncommon in communities across the city, and is completely legal by the way, because we checked before we put it there. By no means are we asking anyone to babysit our children.
Many of us can remember the days when street hockey was the big thing. The kids dragged a net onto the road and played for hours, yelling “car” and dragging the net to the side when a vehicle came by. Or a group of kids would grab their bikes and roam the neighborhood on a saturday afternoon. This was also a time when the neighbors knew each other and that old adage “it takes a village to raise a child” was alive and well. Those kids knew if they were out of line and “caught” by a neighbor, they’d be marched right back home for a conversation with the child’s parents. And the parents would actually DO something about it! Imagine that. Now THAT is parenting. If my neighbor came to my house to tell me about an incident where my child was acting inappropriately whether it be a safety issue or other problem, you can bet there would be a conversation and consequences for my child. I feel fortunate to live on a street where we have the true sense of community, care about each other and each others kids and lend a helping hand when we can.
What I don’t understand is why it appears to be so difficult to come together as a community and be respectful and courteous to others in these circumstances. The fact is we all live in a family community with many kids. It is simply unreasonable to expect kids to not be on the roads sometimes. If this was Tuscany Blvd, obviously our kids would not be playing in the street. We’re talking about a quiet, low volume residential side street, in a playground zone. Our kids are not hurting anyone or being disruptive to traffic, they are acutely aware of the danger of cars, and are under the watchful eye of an adult. Furthermore, they are respecting traffic when it does come along. Are there cases where the kids are being unsafe i.e not moving off the road? Yes, in fact I have witnessed it myself. As a matter of interest, these problems have been with the OLDER kids (whom do not live on our street and whose parents are no where around, but allow their kids to roam freely and come to our street to play) who have caused problems. In my opinion, it is up to us as adults, regardless of if you are a parent or not, to stop in these situations and correct the child. Unfortunately, most people will just drive by cursing under their breath at the stupid kids and stupid parents.
Pamela’s comment that she intends to call the police every time she sees kids on the road or a sign is simply….well, strange firstly, and completely unwarranted. Why do you have so little tolerance and understanding? We are not bad parents and these are not bad kids. We are parents who’d rather our kids play outside getting exercise and learning social skills in as safe of an environment as we can manage in today’s world. Keep in mind this is not a busy roadway, this is a low volume residential side street, in a playground zone where people should be traveling no more than 30 kms anyway.
There is a very simple solution to all of this in my opinion. It’s so simple it seems to have alluded many. It’s a matter of respect and common courtesy. We’ll watch our kids and teach them to play safe and be respectful of vehicles, and you in turn, please, watch out for our children. Why is that so much to ask? Where is your kindness and any shred of tolerance for others? We only ask that you extend the same courtesy to our children as you would any other pedestrian on any other roadway you may be traveling. Watch for them and slow down/stop for them. Is it really so much to ask? Really? I would think you Pamela, of all people would ask for this same courtesy considering your aunt was hit by a car. Or should we ASSUME – as you have done with our children, your aunt was not paying attention and was on the roadway where she shouldn’t have been, putting herself at risk.
I have far more issue from a safety perspective on the walk to school, than I do letting my child play in front of the house. The amount of cars that speed through the school zones or fail to stop at crosswalks is sickening. Add in a cell phone or blackberry and it’s downright frightening. Life is full of risk unfortunately. You could get hit by a bus tomorrow. You could be in a car accident. You could fall off your high horse and break your arm.
It’s all about balance of the risk and the benefit. And teaching kids to recognize that, make appropriate decisions about the dangers they face every day, and yet still allowing them to be kids, is what good parents do. And Pamela, I assure you, our particular street is FULL of great parents.
You might not have kids Pamela, but many people living in this community do. If you can not muster any tolerance for the families living here, you might want to consider moving to another area with fewer kids.