I’d spent many evenings last week going door to door along State Street, methodically collecting signatures on a city petition to reduce the State Street speed limit to 25 MPH from its current 35 MPH. The first two days garnered the lion’s share of signatures; before I knew it I was up to ten. The last four, however, have been a challenge. Some neighbors tell me they agree 100% with reducing the speed and yet they’re very reluctant to put their name on the list. Some of these neighbors are older and some are renters who are perhaps worried any more neighborhood improvements might price them right out of the home they are renting. It’s hard to know what their real reasons are but it’s frustrating that they want it done and yet don’t want to do anything to make it happen.
Sunday afternoon I was particularly bummed when some friends I thought I could count on to sign decided against it, citing the mess that the water main replacement/traffic calming on Glascock has been. Even though I stressed it was only a new set of speed limit signs I could not convince them. I felt like chucking my clipboard into the street and giving up on the whole damn process. It would be just like five years ago, when I spent hours walking up and down State only to collect just enough signatures to barely miss the threshold.
Then hope arrived in my mailbox. I had mailed out five letters to owners of State Street rental properties, asking for their approval (owners or residents are acceptable). There was my SASE and letter, with a message scrawled at the bottom: “Thank you for doing this!”
Just like that there was new wind in my sails. This landlord not only gave me the signature that I couldn’t get from her shy tenant, she also gave my morale a much-needed boost. Boy, did I need that!
My friends saw my earlier tweet of despair and offered to help convince neighbors. Then I realized a clever option to gain an additional signature. Suddenly the 14 signatures didn’t seem insurmountable.
The final convincing evidence arrived at 2 AM this morning. I awoke to the sound of several motorcycles revving their engines and racing down State Street. When they didn’t go away in 5 minutes I called 911. Another 12 minutes later I called again, asking specifically that an officer be dispatched. Eventually they left by the Oakwood Avenue end but not after having State Street as their racetrack for almost 30 minutes.
I hope this all-too-common episode will be enough to convince the last of the holdouts. I’ve got six more weeks to get this done and I’m pulling out all the stops. Failure is no longer an option.