Take back the streets! (Pitney Road)

Municipal planners will tell you that a “road” and a “street” are two different entities, despite the interchangeable use of the terms, along with a multitude of other synonyms like “lane”, “drive” and “way”. The difference is summed up as follows: a road is for cars, a street is for people.

I accept this distinction. I live on a road. People (except in their cars) venture onto it at their peril. Where can I go to experience a “street”? In Egg Harbor City, I can at least wander from restaurant to Library to hardware store. Some effort has been made to soften the hardscape with trees and a bench or two. There’s a pub. Let’s call Philadelphia Avenue 15% “street”. Much better than 100% road!

The two big cities I know best (Boston and Philadelphia) have sections where the streets are alive. Alive! Often these are the areas popular with young adults. Lively streets provide shopping and entertainment. There are opportunities to “see and be seen”. You might run into a friend. A street is public, social space.

My Quaker meeting is located on a road – no doubt about it. Pitney Road is, at times, annoyingly busy with cars and a tad dangerous. But we put the “street” back into Pitney Road on Saturday morning with our annual fundraiser. Who would have thought heirloom tomato plants would be so popular?

For a few hours, our part of Pitney Road became “people territory”. Cars slowed down! “Meet and greet” became the order of the day. Joggers and dog walkers materialized. The merits of “Rutgers” tomatoes were debated, the Spring weather analyzed, summer plans discussed.

The tomato plant sale was a successful fundraiser, but better than that, we hosted a neighborhood social event! We turned Pitney Road into a STREET for a few hours. Thanks to ALL for a great Saturday morning!

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