Studying Neighborhoods

17 Jul

When you have a job like delivering phone books you begin to notice the differences in how neighborhoods are designed and built. The routes we have completed or begun so far have covered two very different neighborhoods. Two routes were in an older neighborhood near downtown Longmont. Two others, including the one we are working on are in a newer upscale division in Broomfield.

It’s pushing 100 degrees out there today, so Susan and I bailed on our second Broomfield route after only 13,600 steps and 155 deliveries. (That’s only counting my steps and my deliveries.) That comes out to about 88 steps per delivery. I didn’t keep the statistics from the Longmont route we finished yesterday, but I can guarantee that we would have gotten a lot more deliveries out of 13,600 steps. Evidently one thing that people want in an upscale home is a long front walk, preferably with at least five steps. And of course there are beautifully landscaped strips dividing one lawn from another so a shortcut from one front door to the next is usually out. One street I delivered to this morning had all the main entrances on the side, only reachable by walking all the way across the front of the house and around the corner–and then all the way back and down the driveway, then haul the cart to the next driveway and repeat.

The other advantage the Longmont neighborhood has over Broomfield is SHADE! Both sides of almost every street in that area are lined with towering shade trees, mostly oaks and maples. It was easy to find a shady parking place every time we moved our cars, and we lugged our carts through frequent patches of shady coolness. In Broomfield there are plenty of trees, but they’re so small that they only shade part of the car, and the small patch of shade may have moved before we delivered one cart load of books.

The two neighborhoods had some common features. First, addresses can be hard to find in either type of neighborhood. I picked the Broomfield neighborhood off the map because all the curvy streets and cul-de-sacs indicated a recent development and I thought there would be some consistency and logic in the addresses. I was partly right. At least there were no tiny run-down strip malls with apartments above the shops, large old houses split into an indeterminate number of apartments, and garages way at the back of the lots turned into granny apartments, all common in the older Longmont neighborhood. However, there were just as many illogical house numbers in this newer development. There were numbers out of sequence. There were odd numbers on one side of the street that fit in between the even numbers two blocks down on the other side instead of directly across the street. And as if it wasn’t confusing enough to have a lane, a street, and a drive all with the same name, there was one crazy place where a lane and a drive shared a short connecting street and a tiny cul-de-sac with a landscaped island in the middle. There was no clear division between the lane and drive, and the address list had half the houses listed in the wrong one. One house number was found in both the lane and the drive.

I also noticed that in both neighborhoods there are many homeowners who love flowers and gardens. The front yards and porches of Longmont are decked out with flowers and vines, many of them spilling over the front walks, leaving only a narrow path. The beautifully manicured lawns of Broomfield show the stamp of individual gardening homeowners showing their love of symmetry or spontaneity, roses or ground cover. One home even had a lush vegetable garden that was so beautiful that it fit in with all the neighboring flowers.

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Posted by on July 17, 2010 in Uncategorized


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