Other voices: Improving community on our Pine Street bridge | TheUnion.com

Other voices: Improving community on our Pine Street bridge

I was on one of my twice-weekly outings to SPD to replenish my stores, escorted by my dog Mirabelle, my faithful co-pilot. She views me as the great white hunter. I enter SPD armed with nothing more than my bare hands and emerge 20 minutes later laden with bags full of vittles, perhaps dog biscuits.

As I crossed the Pine Street bridge on this occasion, I set my mind to the task of finding a more functional application for the stop signs on either end. Nevada City treasures its traditions, and these particular traffic signs are more tradition than utility.

I have a modest proposal to employ these sign to enhance another Nevada City tradition – face-to-face communication, something we are in danger of losing to e-mail and the automobile. This is my proposal: Move both stop signs to the middle of the bridge, offset by a half-car length. In this way, if two drivers should come to the signs at the same time, they could exchange pleasantries in this driver-to-driver concurrence.

“How’s your fern,” he might ask?

“Just fine,” she would reply. “How’s the missus?”

“Jes’ fine, thanks” he would said. “She ran off with a tractor salesman, but they seem to be doing OK.”

“How’d you find out?”

“Got this John Deere letter. Well, on my way to SPD.”

“Just came from there myself; check out the zucchini,” she might suggest.

And off they would go on their respective missions. Communication is the lifeblood of any community.

The next Chamber of Commerce brochure could feature this unique aspect of our quaint city. These two stop signs in the middle of the bridge would be the essence of quaintness. Sunset Magazine would do a feature story.

Well, that was my thought on how to improve community life in Nevada City. But if this is too quaint, I have a less parochial suggestion, indeed, global in its implications. Replace the stop signs with “Slow-15 mph, please.” Too fast to chat, but slow enough to wave. Save a little gas, bolster the city’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and show a glad hand in passing.


Jim Hurley lives in Nevada City.

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