03 October 2007

Please Don't Ban Street Play

Photo from "Games in the Street", by Rachel Gallagher, 1976

How warped is a society when laws must be passed to ban children from playing in the street? Think about it. Streets make up a large percentage of the total land surface in the city, and they are owned by the public. Should cars have total monopoly on this public resource? As a child I played many summer days in our small residential street. It is the meeting place of all the kids of all ages, and it is within watch of the surrounding houses.

We should be clear about this. This proposed law has nothing to do with the safety of the kids. The playing going on is on small residential side streets. There are already laws against stopping traffic, and no one has claimed that kids are playing in high-traffic areas. The problem is a bunch of whiny old people who can't remember what it was like to play kick the can or pick-up ball. If there is a problem on a specific street, then talk to the kids, or if they are punks, talk to the police, and they use their judgement and will move them on if needed. There is absolutely no need to outlaw all playing in the street. Why not outlaw play on sidewalks, near streets, or all play in public view? Or outlaw kids totally, as they are always yelling, running and generally disturbing the peace with their balls, bats and bikes. I suspect that this law is actually about race and basketball.

Do you want to live in a city in which car speed is encouraged at the expense of play?


Mark Miller said...

Long ago I used to bristle with fear when the child catcher appeared on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Now somehow, as an adult, Milton Dohoney is even scarier to me.

CityKin said...

"free lollipops children"

Kevin LeMaster said...

Do you want to live in a city in which car speed is encouraged at the expense of play?

Hell no!

I posted this in another blog, but I feel that little consideration is being given to kids in places like OTR and the West End. They don't have yards to play in.

Kids in Hyde Park or Mount Lookout might have a half-acre or more.

scott d said...

we live in a way-too-regulated society where fun will soon be illegal.

i LOVE that kids are playing on my street. i live on a "thru-street" that doesn't get much traffic. there's a basketball hoop at about the midway point, and hearing the ball bouncing and the kids having fun makes life better.