Caring enough to slow down

As anyone who drives anywhere within shouting distance of Kitchener-Waterloo, you know that there is an obscene amount of construction happening all over the city. Summers in general are usually busy with road construction, but this summer is particularly hectic with all the road closures from the building of the new light rail transit system coming to town.

The other day I was biking from University Waterloo campus to the Mennonite Central Committee building on 50 Kent on the either side of downtown. Getting to the Iron Horse from campus these days can be a trick.

As I’ve done this route quite frequently over the summer, I’ve noticed some curious traffic behaviour.

For example, if I were driving a car down Erb Street towards Uptown Waterloo trying to get to downtown Kitchener, to get around the LRT closures I could just hook an early right, and cut through the quiet Uptown West neighborhood to link up with Park Street to get downtown. I could do this via speeding through an empty residential street called Euclid Avenue. Just drive around some of those fake “road closed” signs and I’m in the clear. Oh I’m feeling sly now. I’ve gotten where I need to go and no one even noticed or cared. If only that were true – just ask any resident who lives there.

And Euclid is not the only street in town where this happens.


One local family’s creative response to speedy traffic.

As I’ve been biking around this summer, I’ve noticed some things starting to happen as this construction lumbers on. First there were those “road closed due to constructions” signs. Then, slow down for our children signs start popping up on multiple front lawns. I’ve also seen temporary speed bumps installed.

Clearly this is never just one driver who is trying to sneak through quiet streets. You tack on dozens and hundreds and thousands of these “shortcuts” over time, families with children start being affected. But how were these rogue drivers to know that so many others would have done the same thing? Weren’t they being so clever?

When Jesus was talking about taking the narrow road, I don’t think this is what he meant.

When our “little sins” add up, they form quite the disturbance. If I neglect to say hello to a co-worker enough times while passing by their office, eventually they’re going to start assuming that I just don’t like them. A community throws enough plastic and toxins into their environment, eventually it will mess up the eco-system, or start making the town look like a dump.

But it’s not hard to stop. Change starts with you. It starts with me.

Let’s be a little more aware of the little choices we’re making, and the impact they may or may not have on others. I’m not talking about those little things we’re aware about, but actually really try to observe yourself, how an other might be affected by you, and start taking notice of those little things. We all do them hundreds of time, so there’s no sense feeling ashamed when we do them – but do what you can to make it right the next time.

And remember to slow down! 🙂






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