Street Smarts: Should Stapleton Kids Be Playing in Our Streets?

playing-in-streetA recent hot topic on Next Door Stapleton was the issue of kids playing in Stapleton streets. “It starts to really slow down traffic,” says resident Josh Meyers. “I mean, you have to drive about 10 miles per hour in fear a kid is going to dart out in front of you. It can sometimes add anywhere from 30 to 90 seconds to a trip.” Other parents are less worried about the drive time, but worried about the inherent danger of kids playing in the busy Stapleton streets. “We’re not living in a suburb, after all,” says Stapleton parent Allie Morgan. “We live in Denver, in what is considered an urban community. Urban communities have lots of traffic, among other dangerous things. People need to get their kids out of the streets. If anything, have them play in the alleys.” Not all Stapleton parents agree that street play is a safety hazard. “Can’t we just let the kids play for goodness sakes?” said resident Ken Lima. “Do Stapleton people have to complain about every little inconvenience or small disobedience to the law? It is ridiculous.” Stacy Lehman agrees. “It’s one thing if it was four and five year olds running rampant in the streets,” said Lehman. “But these are typically 8 year olds at minimum who know to look out for cars and move when they see one coming. I have seen this several times, and the kids are very respectful and good at getting out of the way. I’m actually glad the kids are outside playing games.” SUN President Mike Victoria says that technically kids should not be out in the streets playing. “The streets are for cars,” said Victoria. “However, we ask parents to use discretion. We want parents to think, ‘is this street heavily trafficked, or are there a lot of blind spots?’ If the answer is no to these questions, maybe it isn’t a big deal for kids to play some safe street games such as street hockey, basketball, or four square. Just make sure the kids are aware that they need to move for cars, and if you can have a parent outside supervising, that is great as well.” To the parents against street-play, the SUN response is not appropriate. “Saying it is okay for kids to play in the streets in any context is an irresponsible thing to say for a community organization,” says Morgan. “Are we waiting for a kid to get hurt?” Residents who are okay with kids playing games in the street say that Stapleton streets are already pretty safe-guarded. “There are stop signs all over Stapleton,” says Lima. “Plus, whether kids are in the streets or not, you should be driving slowly through the neighborhood.” ]]>

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