Dependable Erection

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Speeding and drinking

A month or so ago Kevin and i interviewed city manager Tom Bonfield on Shooting the Bull. One of the questions i asked him went something like this. Now that Durham has reported a statistically significant drop in violent crime over the past few years, would it be possible to see the Durham police devote a few more resources to enforcing traffic claws, especially things like speeding and crosswalk encroachment in our neighborhoods that make Durham so uncomfortable and unsafe to walk or bike in.

Tom's response was that not every neighborhood had the luxury of feeling the way the people in mine do, and that this may not be a priority for people in perhaps higher crime neighborhoods.

Well, i see his point, even if i disagree with it.

But, first of all, my neighborhood isn't all that if you know what i mean.

Second, if we don't have enough officers to enforce our traffic laws, why did i watch 3 of Durham's finest spend 20 minutes making sure two men drinking beer in a public space on Main Street last night had to empty their containers and vacate the space. Yeah, public consumption is against the law. I know that. But so is speeding. And if you ask me, and i think many people in Durham, our safety is a lot more jeopardized by people behind the wheel of a 2500 pound vehicle traveling at 45 mph on a residential street designed for 25 mph travel, than it is by a couple of guys drinking 40s out of a brown paper bag on a park bench on Main Street.

Know what i mean?

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7 Comments:

  • I'd be curious to see some statistics on how many folks are nabbed for previous crimes when they get pulled for traffic violations. This is the first place I've lived (three years now) that I haven't seen routine traffic stops. What gives?

    By Blogger girlnblack77, at 9:46 AM  

  • I agree with you on the facts, but I think that for some folks, they have a greater *perception* of safety by being able to walk around downtown without seeing "dubious characters" drinking 40's, and don't worry about the speeding. Kind of like airport security - the stuff you see isn't the real security work, but it makes some people feel a bit safer.

    By Blogger Jeff Stern, at 11:53 AM  

  • as a libertarian I don't have a problem with any of these laws, or their lack of enforcement.

    In switzerland you get a notification re: speeding from the private operator of the roads, which has a vested interest in keeping them safe and minimizing wear and tear on the road surface.

    Plus the bike riders in their ped-friendly enclaves are not taxed to pay for roads that do not directly benefit them.

    As for open container, well I'm from New Orleans where we're a bit more enlightened/drunk. You should be prosecuted for what you do AFTER you've been drinking, not for the drink itself.

    I'll tell you what gets my goat re: the cops. We focus on crime so that the hood can be gentrified enough to move the poor people out of the way of progress, while putting a disproportionate number of them in jail for choosing what to put in their body or how to make a living, while raising their taxes on meals and vehicle registration. They just get shit on from all sides.

    By Blogger KeepDurhamDifferent!, at 1:03 PM  

  • "Privately owned road"?

    Very funny.

    Besides Switzerland, which has to be, no offense, I think the Swiss would agree, one of the most unusual countries on this planet earth, WHERE else does one find this wonderful "privately owned roads" except perhaps on some large "privately owned" estate?

    Just askin'.

    However, I also agree. We do have several classes of society who get "shit from all sides," and I would add, a class or two who get "obscene wealth, unearned priviledges and easy breaks from all sides." But I don't engage in class warfare. That would be in bad taste.

    By Blogger Tony, at 1:38 PM  

  • privately owned and/or operated roads can be found in northern virginia and chicago.

    and the US is even more unusual than CH, because of our remarkable degree of libery and personal freedom. Even despite the Bush years.

    By Blogger KeepDurhamDifferent!, at 3:22 PM  

  • libery = liberty + libation? perhaps a freudian slip.

    By Blogger KeepDurhamDifferent!, at 3:26 PM  

  • re: KDD - Assuming you're talking about this road, it's interesting to note that toll increases averaging 6% per year for the next 3 years have already been approved.

    Besides which, you're doing a little apples/oranges, aren't you? Outside of perhaps some private neighborhoods, gated communities homeowners associations and the like, the private roads that exist in the US are all commuter turnpikes which attempt to take advantage of some people's willingness to trade money for time.

    Are there any privately owned urban surface streets, which is really what i'm talking about here.

    re: Jeff - this particular incident took place in the little park across the street from Revolution, around 8:30 Friday night. I was having a drink and some appetizers at the bar. There was certainly no one else on the street or in the park beside the 3 officers and the two guys brown-bagging it. I doubt the guys at the valet parking station even noticed the incident. Certainly, no one else at the bar did.

    According to Google, it's about 1.5 miles from my house to Revolution. When i lived in Brooklyn, Sacramento, or even Phoenix, that's a distance i almost certainly would have walked or taken public transit for dinner. The factors that put me in my car in Durham include easy, free parking, shitty public transportation, and several unsafe pedestrian crossings between my house and downtown. A couple of guys drinking malt liquor on a park bench is not what's keeping me off the sidewalks.

    By Blogger Barry, at 3:53 PM  

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