Someone once said, "There are people in this world who watch things happen, people who wish things would happen and people who make things happen.” Let’s make something happen. For the moment, I’m still fixated on sidewalks being that something. See blog post: .
The whole concept of action to affect change is nothing new. Not many great things happen on the couch. You may disagree, but for the sake of the point I’m trying to make, lets assume sitting on the couch means vegging out. If you are a runner you may know the mantra “No matter how slow I go, I’m lapping everyone on the couch.” It’s kept me going many a time. Point is, you don’t have to make grand gestures to make things happen but you do have to do something. You’ve got to get off the couch. The small and combined efforts of many, have a real measurable impact.
If you are on board - if you think the kids in Lower Merion should be able to walk to school in reasonable walk zones, then we agree. If you support a safe pedestrian pathway around most parts of the township, we are on the same page.
And there’s a zillion ways you can support that effort and be a part of making something happen. First, why it’s important to do so. It’s much easier to complain than to do something. I’m an excellent complainer. I didn’t even have to go back to school for that. Yup, I’m self taught. Maybe even a born-complainer. As I get older, and hopefully wiser, I am realizing that it’s not actually all that productive. It doesn’t change a darn thing. So I need to change how I think about things,my approach. I need to stop complaining and start acting on things that are important - like pedestrian safety, sidewalks.
Everyone has to care, even if just a little. I’m a parent of two teenagers and a tween. These kids, mine and yours, are our country’s future decision makers, lawyers, environmentalists, researchers, wallstreet leaders. It’s our civic, and parental, responsibility to teach them to stand for something, to be people of action, to strive for better communities, work environments, educational systems - everything. Apathy will get them, and our country, nowhere. Dr. Seuss said “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, it’s not going to get better. It’s not.” Right on Dr. Seuss.
I really do mean everyone, or most everyone. It’s easy to think that someone else will bake the cupcakes, or donate money to the Clean Air Council, or attend the public meeting, or write a letter to the editor. But if everyone thinks everyone else will do it, then, of course, it never gets done. But there are all sorts of ways to be involved and take action. Sometimes all you have to do is sign a petition, put out a yard sign, show up when invited to a meeting. Sometimes all you have to do is write a check. Even talking to your neighbors, aka raising awareness, is an important contribution. If you support this Walk to School effort, then I hope you’ll choose a way to get involved and then do it.
And let me reiterate the why we need to do this. We need to do this so that kids in neighborhoods close to schools can walk to school, taking buses off the road - saving money and reducing pollution. We need to do this so that when neighborhood friends want to play, they can safely get to play areas. We need to do this because walking to school is an important part of our country’s obesity crisis. We need to do this because safe pathways in neighborhoods connect people. The real list is longer but for the basics of why, this will suffice.
Keep an eye out for information about Walk to School Day, coming in early October, for future Lower Merion Township Circulation Committee meetings, join the Penn Valley Sidewalk Group on facebook, sign up to receive emails from Penn Valley Sidewalk Group by emailing PVSidewalkGroup@gmail.com, email your commissioner or folks at township administration showing your support. Your commissioner’s email can be found at http://lowermerion.org/Index.aspx?page=149. You can email Chris Leswing, the township’s planner at firstname.lastname@example.org and Doug Cleland, the township’s manager at email@example.com.
It’s going to be a little bit of work, this improving our quality-of-life stuff but here’s to some great conversations, good coffee and future safe walks in our community.