Please don't hit my kids.

Please don't hit my kids...or my neighbors' kids, for that matter.

There. That's really the gist of what I want to say to every motorist who uses my street as a shortcut. They zip down my street, hoping to avoid traffic, and all I do is hope they avoid my kids in the process.

Where it was perhaps a rarity a few years back to see kids outside, in neighborhoods, playing, Covid-19 has kind of changed that.

As a society, I think we've gotten used to children not playing outside as much. Historically, they've been in school for many of the daylight hours. And what few hours they have after school are usually filled with extracurricular activities or video games.

Please Slow Down 2, Cori Skall
Please Slow Down 2, Cori Skall
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But like in some small pockets of the city, there are kids who are outside playing till dusk, as we used to when we were kids.

In fact, in my neighborhood, at any given time, I can step out my front door and see half-a-dozen kids, or more, playing. They ride scooters or bikes up and down the street. They roam around the block in little gangs playing hide-and-seek or making mud creations.

Please Slow Down 1, Cori Skall
Please Slow Down 1, Cori Skall
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The problem is, at any given time, I can also step out my front door and see some car, truck, or motorcycle speeding, or driving distractedly down my street.

Especially since the city decided to run its trial of making 15 and Union a "right turn only." This has definitely resulted in an uptick of frustrated folks using the surrounding streets as cut-throughs or shortcuts to avoid that part of Union St.

Make no mistake, this is not an issue of "parents not watching their kids" or "kids not paying attention to their surroundings."

Please Slow Down 3, Cori Skall
Please Slow Down 3, Cori Skall
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I sit out with my kids, daily. And I've become the crazy mom who shouts "car" at the top of her lungs, just to make sure any kids around the bend know there's an oncoming vehicle.

We have an old "Kids Playing" sign that's been in the bend of our road since I moved here over a decade ago. But when cars turn onto my street from the main drag, it's hard to see it right away. And they're often going so fast on the onset, that to slow down in time is nearly impossible.

I've asked the city for more signs. I was told they don't provide those anymore because "it gives people a false sense of security." I have witnessed quite the opposite, in that I have seen cars slow a bit when they actually get to that big sign at the bend. But I'm only one mom. I don't have research to back my opinions. Only my own experience.

After watching a neighbor's kid almost get flattened on her bike, when a motorcyclist, who was not paying attention, came within 6 inches from her back tire before slamming on his brakes, I felt I had to take some sort of action. So my family purchased a couple of those little florescent "Slow" figures and put them in the middle of the road. They're bright, and even have little orange flags that are supposed to garner more attention.

Then our neighbors followed suit.

But despite the new additions to our block, folks still feel the need to speed down our little road. I even had a young man flip me off recently as I was walking down the block with one of the signs in my arms, getting ready to put it out, as he sped by.

At this point, I'm at a loss. And I know I'm not alone. There are streets all over Bangor, especially in the Fairmount Park area, which all have similar problems: Lots of kids playing, and lots of speeding or distracted drivers.

Slow Down sign
gustavofrazao
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We've been lucky so far, but I fear the day our luck will run out.

So please, as a mom to four beautiful children whom I've spent many years trying to protect and keep alive, and as a concerned neighbor to even more fantastic boys and girls whom I want to see grow up and do great things, I ask you from the bottom of my heart:

Please don't hit these kids.

Slow down.

Look up.

Be aware.

Please....and thank you.

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