Dangerous crossing

This is North Clinton Street at Grove Street here in Fort Wayne. It’s a bit north of downtown, so the lack of pedestrian safety is unfortunately a given.

This intersection is close to a large number of apartments, down Grove to the left, and the last I heard, many new immigrants are placed there. I would guess a new immigrant living in an apartment would be more likely to want to use Citilink buses, especially since so many other cultures are more acclimated to using public transportation than the U.S.

But think about being a pedestrian trying to cross this five-lane road. I estimate it’s about 75 feet across. I have sometimes seen people standing in the center turn-left-both-ways lane, waiting to cross the next two lanes. It’s a natural place to want to stand, but it’s quite dangerous, since it’s a real lane used by vehicles.

Medians are used to good effect on Main Street downtown. Can’t we extend the hospitality to other areas of the city? These can’t be that expensive:

It’s a midblock median island, and something similar would be helpful to the real and perceived safety of pedestrians in the area trying to catch the bus. It seems placing one in the center lane just to the north of Grove Street would help pedestrians immensely without affecting traffic much at all.

But two other problems make this stretch hazardous for pedestrians. First, the sidewalks are rather narrow. Second, have you noticed how easy it is to go above the 35 mph speed limit in this stretch? That’s because the expressway width of the road makes even 50 mph feels safe.

Taking away a foot of roadway on both sides and giving that space to pedestrians or bike lanes would give motorists visual clues that would help keep speeds closer to the posted limit.

Are there other areas in town that could use a little love for pedestrians?

— bottom photo by Richard Drdul on Flickr

Downtown is not the only town

I’m thankful for businesses like Aptera Inc. who have decided to move to downtown Fort Wayne and support our urban core.

But downtown Fort Wayne isn’t the only urban business district around here. If you want to do business — or open a business — in a close-knit, walkable, multi-use community, you could also consider:

New Haven, pictured at top. The photo was taken at Broadway and Main streets during the downtown businesses’ Halloween celebration last year. It was packed!

Roanoke, above. The location of Joseph Decuis and Reusser Design, among others.

East State Village. A couple blocks long loaded with restaurants, a bakery, a library branch, a chocolatier and the Firehouse Theatre.

Waynedale. There’s a Big Boy and lots of small businesses lining Lower Huntington Road.

Wells Street. Several blocks of eclectic shops: Hyde Brothers bookstore, Mr. Wimps jewelry, a funeral home, a coffee shop, a bakery, a discount grocery and plenty of people milling around.

West Main Street. OK, this is my neighborhood, best known for Paula’s Seafood, O’Sullivan’s and Recovery Room Upholstery. But look more closely and you’ll find outdoors equipment, architects and even the SOMA art gallery.

I’m sure there are lots of other small business districts scattered around town. Any you’d care to mention? What do you like about them?

Why a young person would want to leave Fort Wayne

It’s funny how a seemingly innocent photo can reveal a cultural fault line.

This photo of a sign on Taylor Street in Fort Wayne posted on Fort Wayne Observed was greeted with this response:

I think it’s on “This is Why Young People Want To Leave Fort Wayne” Street.

That is: Christianity, or a certain brand of it, contributes to Fort Wayne’s brain drain.

Let me answer the implicit challenge directly.

There is a certain kind of Christian who believes “Turn or Burn” is the entire Gospel, remembers Hell but forgets Heaven and Earth, and reduces the welcome of a gracious Father to a wagging finger.

But there is another kind of Christian who knows that the goal is not escaping Hell; it’s defeating it. And to do that, this Christian loves his spouse, his children and his neighbors with vigor and joy. This Christian knows cities are rebuilt person by person, with love and patience, and does not shrink from doing a task that will have to be completed by his children and grandchildren and will need to be guarded as long as this earth lasts.

Some will be attracted to a group of such Christians. But there is a certain kind of young person who would see such a faithful church and leave town all the faster.

— Photo courtesy of Mitch Harper of Fort Wayne Observed