Hear the People

It was a cold day in March when I made the two-block walk to the neighborhood community center in the park. The path was lit with blueish, late-winter light and the air was crisp. It felt invigorating to be outside even though I was all bundled up. At the entrance to the park I ran into another neighbor who was also heading to the community meeting. As we headed there together we exchanged pleasantries; we were polite, but our conversation remained in the shallow waters of neighborly chit chat.

This was my first community meeting. I wasn’t particularly passionate about the cause, but I was curious, and that was enough. The city was proposing replacing a street with a two-mile bike path and greenway, right through the neighborhood. It sounded nice at first: a little patch of green land for recreational use and a way to connect more bike paths. The proposed route did not impact my street, but it was close, and I wanted to learn more.

I had seen t