In the 1970s, when Ellen Fletcher and other bicycle advocates in Palo Alto dreamed of the ideal cross-town bicycle route, I wonder if they expected any side effects. As planned, the bike boulevard they pressed the city to build on Bryant Street minimizes car traffic while allowing bicycles to pass through a carefully executed set of traffic circles and bicycle-permeable street closures.
I don’t know how the residents feel about the constant stream of cyclists of all ages rolling past their homes. But I do know that someone on Bryant Street is dedicated to decorating the trees that guard one of the street closure gates. We first noticed the Christmas lights on the way home from a date night. Then on a wet night in March I saw the lights had changed to purple and green. Mardi Gras, perhaps? Last month we saw it was decorated with birds for spring. “Spring into Action” and “Flock Together” the signs said. How fitting.
Today, for Mother’s Day the trees became wishing trees with little cards for passersby to fill out for their mothers. When I stopped, there was a mother searching for the card her young son had written for her. He was all smiles, but wasn’t helping her search. I took a moment and wrote one for my mother in Louisiana. I smiled as I attached it to the tree even though she’s not here to find it. Happy Mother’s Day, Mamma!
Does your neighborhood have something that draws strangers together? Do you have a neighbor who does something special for passersby?