Houston, Texas 77007
On our way to my brother’s school it is hot, humid and we are stuck in traffic like every day. You could see how the cars start piling up one in back of the other and the line keeps growing bigger. Finally the light turns green, but only for a couple of seconds before it turns red again.
You don’t see many people walking at five a clock on the street of Washington Avenue between Heights and T.C. Jester, all you see at this time are cars pulling in and out of the parking lots. I smell the different types of food from the restaurants nearby like Jack in the Box, El Rey, and nearby bars. My stomach growls like a lion and it’s only getting hungrier by the minute-the fresh smell of roasted chicken in the air only makes it worse. Small businesses on both sides of the road are full with customers at this time, and more and more keep coming in.
Washington Avenue used to be a very quiet neighborhood. I remember when my mom and I would catch the metro to go to a nearby Matamoros meat market on Washington Ave and TC Jester. Now the meat market isn’t there, it has been replaced by a new one like many other businesses have. Most of the houses are being replaced by all these new townhomes and condominiums. People that have lived here for years are now selling their properties and are moving into another neighborhood.
So many changes have been made throughout these couple of years it’s not the same quiet neighborhood that I remember. Now it’s full of small business shops like stores, restaurants, bars and lots of traffic. The traffic only gets worse with each minute that goes by you could hear the engines of the cars as they sit still without moving an inch. On our way back to the house the traffic has not changed at all but is now worse than it was before. Cars are now being parked on the side of the street because there aren’t enough parking spaces. Businesses like bars and restaurants fill the streets at night with customers this causes them to have to park their cars all though the side of Washington Avenue. Another problem is nearby construction and road work on I-10. There has always been a problem with traffic on I-10 and if traffic was big then, now it’s only getting worse. Traffic is bad enough with only two lanes to drive on and you could imagine how it gets when one lane is being closed by cars and more and more cars pile up as they try to find their way out of the traffic by finding a better route throughout the small streets. Something needs to be done about this. It isn’t fair for long time residents to have to suffer the consequences. And if more people gather together to fix the problem then maybe we wouldn’t have this problem in the first place.
Everyone has a problem with the neighborhood that they live in and complain about it, but if no one does anything to fix the problem then you can’t complain because you are also responsible for letting the problem grow. If everyone gets together and argues about what they could do to fix the problem and how they could let everyone know how they feel then they could fight for what is right.
The article Legalizing Walking talks about how something so easy like walking has to be legal for you to do. People can’t just go outside and walk like they normally would they have to have permission from the government first. And if there’s nowhere to walk, then where are they going to walk? On the side of the road where there’s hundreds of cars passing by every day? Or on peoples yards, if there’s no sidewalks?
These are some Questions that the author answers in Legalizing walking. Not many of us think about these things like the author does, or do something about the problem. We may be walking on day and notice that in some places there are sidewalks while in others there aren’t any. My neighborhood has sidewalks for you to walk on, but not all places do. You may be walking in one block and when you get to the next block there is no sidewalk. This forces you to have to walk on the side of the street. What happens when children have to walk on the side of the street? They too run with the same risks you do, and if no one does anything to fix the problem, who will?
This is why we have people who represent us and work hard every day to make our life’s a lot better and easier every day. The author doesn’t just give us the problem he also give us solutions and the things that are being done every day to fix the problem. You may think that putting a sidewalk is something so easy that many of us can do and why shouldn’t every street have a sidewalk so we can walk on. Well it’s not as easy as we think because of everything that has to be done before putting a sidewalk. There are laws that have to be passed and once the laws are passed there are rules that have to be followed. The author talks about some of the steps that have to be done in order for this to happen, “The next step involved a twelve-member committee that crafted the actual ordinance and included six developers; four consulting architects, engineers, and planners; one governmental representative; and one advocate from a nonprofit.”(pg 8, ph. 5, cite) This is an example of one of the steps that has to be done before a law is passed. It is not that easy to pass a law because some of the things that have to be kept in mind are businesses, homes, parking, traffic, safety, and the people. What the Mayor’s and committees have to look and solve is how a property is made for example its location, parking, traffic, and most important the location and size of the sidewalks. This is why it’s so difficult for us to walk without a problem or anything to worry about.
Not many of us do this though; we just complain and wait for someone else to do it for us.
Some of the solutions that I think could think of to fix the problem with the traffic on Washington Avenue are to make more parking spaces available for the people. It could be a big parking lot with several floors where many could just park and walk to where they’re going. Or what’s better we could have more parking lots underground so that there is less traffic and more room for people to walk on. Parking lots underground will help us by getting some of the cars out of our way and the fewer cars that are on the side of the streets and the less traffic we have the better for us. Downtown for example, is a very busy area with thousands of cars passing by every day and getting in and out of parking lots. If it wasn’t for all of these parking lots built for storage and underground storage as well downtown would be a total chaos. Parking lots can help reduce the traffic and are very helpful in many ways. Without the parking lots something that could take us ten minutes to go to like a nearby pharmacy, will double the time with the traffic. This is why putting parking lots will solve many of the problems that we have with traffic.
Another thing that we should consider is a place for people to walk on so that they could feel a lot better and comfortable walking every day to nearby places, just like what the author said in legalizing walking about how we need more sidewalks. Now days people are used to driving everywhere even to a nearby corner store they have to drive. If there were more places where people could do activities outside instead of inside this would be a lot better for everyone. They should have more places with patios outside their restaurants where people could sit there and have a nice cup of coffee. Little changes like this can help our neighborhood and make it a better place for us and our environment. We just have to do something to make it happen so that we can have a better place not only for us for everyone that wants a difference and that is tired of having to put up with all of this things. Just remember that things don’t change by themselves and each of us needs to do our own part.
It’s easy to think of and come up with some of these ideas on how we could change our neighborhood but it’s not easy to actually get it fixed. Before we can do something people need to get together in small organizations and figure out what they need to do to let their voice be heard. One thing that they could do is go by each house in their neighborhood and get signatures of everyone that thinks they should put parking lots. They should have a leader that represents them and speaks for what everyone has to say about the problem. Let the governors and city council know about this and make sure that they also do something to change this. Once the problem has been stated the governor and city council along with other people like architects, engineers, planners and designers need to get together and look for a solution to fix the problem. Once a solution has been found then that’s when everything gets to be put together and constructed. This is what needs to be done and what we could do to fix a problem that we have in our neighborhood like traffic and parking space.
Ana Ramirez is a second year student at the University Houston Downtown, who is planning to major as a teacher. Ana is a very freindly person that loves helping others in whatever she can. She loves kids and gets along great with people. She is currently a part time student at the University of Houston Downtown and a full time worker at Namco.
In my experience, Ana has proven herself to be an honest, hard-working young woman. she is generous and kind. Even as a teenager, she was always thinking of others. Several times, I have witness her volunteer to help others in her community.
At all times I have found her to be humble, dependable, and a nice going person . She strives always for the best and takes a high interes in education. Ana plans to get a degree and pursue her career as a teacher.