DU Staff - John Carswell

John Carswell, Staff Writer/Photographer

Staff Photo
Shelbyville Daily Union

I have lived in Shelbyville for six years now and some things seem curious to me. Maybe I am still too much of a newcomer to understand these things, and for that reason I plead regional ignorance. However, I have talked to other residents about some of these things and they too, don’t have an answer.

Number one. Why do people with perfectly good driveways prefer to park on the side of the street, obstructing traffic and risking being hit by a street-sweeper, snowplow, or large boat in search of the ramp… not to mention the obvious—being sideswiped by another car? I can understand if a home has no driveway, there is no other option but to park on the street or up in the yard. If you have teenage children with cars or several people living at your home, you also are forced to use the street. If there is a yard sale or family gathering, it is obvious you are going to have cars parked on the side of the street. I am talking about the day-in and day-out practice. What is the real reason people prefer to do this when a more acceptable option is available?

Homes that have a small driveway and two cars usually park one on the street, so the other is not boxed in. That way they don’t have to get up, go outside, and move their car so the other can get out. Laziness works for me too. That is also understandable. When a house has a two-car driveway dedicated to a bass boat and 4-wheeler and three cars parked on the street, you wonder about the priorities.

Since a lot of the streets in Shelbyville are narrow, this creates a new set of “Rules of the Road.” 1. If you are headed west and there are more cars parked on your side of the road than the eastbound lane, you must yield. 2. You can improve your position if there is a gap between parked cars. Race to the open slot, pull in and wait for the oncoming car to pass. That way you are 30 feet ahead of the game. 3. If both lanes have an equal number of cars parked in their lanes, it is first come first swerve. Whoever takes the initiative first, wins. 4. You can play chicken, where both refuse to yield. This results in a daring ‘two-car squeeze’ as both motorists creep by each other without making eye contact.

There are also many cars parked on the street that have become permanent fixtures, with the homeowners coming out to mow around the car after they have finished the yard. I suppose the car is a salvageable vehicle and they are waiting until they have enough money to get it running again.

Last week, the Shelbyville Street Department came out and yellow-curbed many streets, denoting no-no areas. This should help some of the traffic flow.

But in another town I lived in, parking on the streets was not allowed. The result was that traffic moved so freely, they had to come back and install speed control devices like speed bumps and speed circles, at megabucks expense to the city. Another plus for speed control is that many of the streets in Shelbyville are brick—not as speedy a surface as asphalt or even oil and chip.

So I guess I am not complaining after all. It seems we have discovered a homegrown solution to speeding on the residential streets of Shelbyville and keeping them safer for our kids. Sorry I mentioned it. Keep up the good work.

This Week's Circulars