KFnet in T-Town

Sep. 23, 2008 at 7:57am

Tacoma's Quiet, Too Quiet

Sunday night Fall was definitely upon us. Yet, while a chilly breeze blew and spotty clouds streamed by, clear skies revealed a few brilliant spots of shimmering light. It was a beautiful night. After watching some TV and eating dinner, I decided to head out for a walk to enjoy and clear my head a bit.

I walked a mile straight down my street and back on another paralleling it a couple blocks over. My path was well lit by streetlights and on streets that, for the North End, are considered busy. Then why did it feel like I was trespassing in a ghost town?

I saw two people in two miles and easily less than a dozen cars. 8:30pm isn't exactly late either but signs of life were limited to lit windows that themselves didn't seem to contain any warm bodies or activity of any sort. As calming as the isolation was it's also sad to me that so few others were out enjoying the night.

In the Northwest we are fortunately surrounded by all brands of beauty but weather most folks can get out and enjoy is limited. The benefit of tossing on a jacket and stepping outside this time of year far outweighs having a chilly nose. I do recommend it if not for yourself, but to help lend a little life to a wonderful neighborhood.

comments [16]  |  posted under evening, neighborhood, quiet, tacoma, walk


by morgan on 9/23/2008 @ 8:55am
I frequently think the same thing on my neighborhood walks: where are the people?

by KevinFreitas on 9/23/2008 @ 9:40am
I know it's a part of our American kind of "indoor = safe" mentality that's surely helped by distractions like TV and such. The thing about my walk was that even though it was already dark I didn't feel like it was unsafe at all. And, if you haven't looked up at the start on a clear Fall night then you haven't ever seen the stars. Maybe there's just something in the air but they absolutely gleam.

by droid116 on 9/23/2008 @ 9:53am
Obviously you are unaware that the Fall Television season has started.

Just kidding.

I enjoy walking in my neighborhood and on most days you will see friendly faces from one block to the next. One reason is that there are families with kids and dogs and they account for two good reasons to get out: stretching your legs and marking your territory.

by KevinFreitas on 9/23/2008 @ 10:11am
Obviously you are unaware that the Fall Television season has started.

Acutely aware since Heroes took up most of my Monday night and I certainly wasn't out walking. ;) Fortunately that's one of only two shows I watch.

Yea, and I do notice a lot of couples and folks with kids and dogs doing just that between 5 and 6 or so. But folks like me with neither who can be out walking at any hour should. Or maybe we should mandate that every house have a stoop upon which people could be out and sit.

by jcbetty on 9/23/2008 @ 12:58pm
I like the stoop idea; kinda', I have one. Even still, we're a fairly non-social lot in my neck of the 'hood. --For me, the later walkies are difficult because we're getting adjusted to a new schedule. Heck, strike that: we're getting adjusted to having *a* schedule.

by Kevindot1 on 9/23/2008 @ 2:03pm
I miss the North End for the walking aspect of the area. I am not as sure about walking too far from home here in the South End.

by Shwing on 9/23/2008 @ 3:50pm
A quiet night in my area means:

1) No dealers standing on the corner waiting for their daily quota to be dropped off and then unloaded via a handshake to the caravan of cars soon to follow.

2) Drunks returning from the bar/quickie mart rush to the warmth of the indoors without affirming their various gang affiliations with slurred shouts.

3) Future guests on "Jerry Springer" play out their domestic violence scenarios in the privacy of their own homes as opposed to in the middle of the street.

The downside is that the decrease in observable crime means that instead of patrolling my streets the TPD is writing parking tickets in the North End. On second thought, that would be business as usual.

Now don't get me wrong. I love walking these streets on a crisp fall night. The point I'm trying to make is that in some Tacoma neighborhoods the quiet brought on by the cold weather is a welcome respite.

Kevin, I grew up in the South End. It may have an intimidating shell to it but once you crack the surface you will find that you are living in a healthy, friendly neighborhood of blue collar retirees. So walk your heart out, you'll just have to walk a little farther to find that "shoot the breeze" conversation than you've been used to.

by KevinFreitas on 9/23/2008 @ 5:11pm
...in some Tacoma neighborhoods the quiet brought on by the cold weather is a welcome respite.

That's a powerful point, no doubt. The observability of folks walking around for pleasure (rather than to strike up a deal) would do any neighborhood good, I'd imagine. North, south, east or west -- Tacoma ain't that bad ladies and gentlemen. Get out and see for yourself.

by NineInchNachos on 9/23/2008 @ 7:47pm
nothing brings people together like a level 3 sex offender moving in next door.


just sayin.

check your neighborhood!


by jcbetty on 9/23/2008 @ 10:44pm
(feeling sick. 14 offenders half a mile from me-- and I'm in North Tacoma, though not Proctor... no level 3, but....gah. No wonder I'm a hover mother.)

by Shwing on 9/24/2008 @ 12:46am
It has been worse and in the last 15 years we have made great strides toward making this town the kind of place that you can have an enjoyable walk without worry. The point is that this progress is only on the verge of affecting some of what could be vital neighborhoods.

Tacoma is a wonderful place that is chalk full of very awesome people. I love this town and I've lived here my whole life. It gives me a tremendous amount of hope to witness the birth and popularity of websites/blogs like this one and more importantly the community that has built them. But the other side of our coin is a bleak one and it frustrates me to see that side constantly glossed over in our online communities.

Drugs, gangs, Concentrated areas of sex offenders and prostitution (you can walk one block from my house and be solicited by an elementary girl). A town this size, so full of not just upright but passionate citizens should have, at the very least, an awareness and more wishfully a tight grip on these matters.

What to do, What to do?
Develop codes and regulations that don't just hold the ner' do wells criminally accountable but that educate and advocate the benefits of living in a self respecting manner? Further develop programs that focus us on our responsibility to build a visually cleaner and brighter Tacoma? Change from the top down, cast a vote to keep our term limits?


More importantly than these, acknowledge.
Acknowledge our 'hoods, acknowledge our homeless, acknowledge our gangs, our drugs, our prostitutes and our pedophiles.

Most importantly of all, follow Kevin's advice:
"...Get out and see for yourself....I do recommend it if not for yourself, but to help lend a little life to a wonderful neighborhood."

The change has begun and great things have taken hold but unless we would see our progress stop short of all the neighborhoods that are Tacoma the change must be perpetuated by our hands, by our feet. In our city, not just our backyards.

Get out and see [your Tacoma] for yourself.

Kevin puts it nicely:
"Yet, while a chilly breeze blew and spotty clouds streamed by, clear skies revealed a few brilliant spots of shimmering light."

"It was a beautiful night."

I apologize if I've spun this blog entry in a negative direction I felt compelled to raise the possibility that our streets are sparse not only because of the change in seasons.

by KevinFreitas on 9/24/2008 @ 7:10am
Not at all Shwing, thanks. There's nothing negative about opening up to reality and finding meaningful ways to work with it. Part of why I started this site was to open up the local online community to more voices. I, for one, absolutely welcome critical perspectives that help keep everyone aware and on their toes. I'm encouraged by south end transplant Kevindot1's recent posts and by some of the posts contributed from the east end of Tacoma by the Trib's Scott Fontaine.

The more the merrier and please let individuals and communities organizations and groups alike know that they can have their own voice by starting a blog here on FeedTacoma. Likewise, I'm always open to "teaching" folks how to blog by serving up advice from my own experience doing so and perspective on this method of communicating.

South, east, west, north, downtown, tideflats, northeast, Spanaway, Lakewood, University Place, Ruston -- we're all Tacoma and it's all welcome here.

by Altered Chords on 9/24/2008 @ 10:10am
"advocate the benefits of living in a self respecting manner? "

The benefits of living in a self respecting manner is one that you hear every sunday in any of a number of churches.

There are far too many among us that believe (have faith in) legislation and public education will alleviate moral breakdown.

by Shwing on 9/24/2008 @ 5:29pm
Altered Chords:

The fact is the principles and morals one would hear spoken of in a church of any religion are not universally acceptable by the individual members of our society. To speak generally, they are accepted and practiced only by those who have subscribed to a code of morals and ethics pursuant to their specific religions teachings, whichever religion it may be.

However, there is a manner of living of which the majority of our society has agreed upon to be appropriate for all via our democratic process and our elected representation. It is outlined in our constitution and in our constitutional amendments. It is reflected in our rules and our regulations. I believe it is appropriate and necessary for a municipality to educate and advocate to its criminals and to its less fortunate constituents this manner of living in accordance with our more universal standards.

by Mofo from the Hood on 9/24/2008 @ 8:37pm
I agree with KF that this is a great city for evening walks. I've never felt threatened walking in any neighborhood. But maybe I've been, so to speak, "whistling in the darkness."

by kathy on 9/25/2008 @ 6:02pm
My $.02...
You want to make a difference in our neighborhoods, in our community as a whole? Start with the kids.
Be a mentor, volunteer at the schools, show kids that there are caring adults, teach them about alternatives to drugs and gangs and the street. I am continually amazed at the lack of parental involvement, the acceptance of criminal behavior and the complete lack of direction so many kids seem to have.
On the flip side I am also amazed at the effect a caring and responsible parent, teacher or mentor can have on a child, Powerful!
Just talking to the kids in your neighborhood is a great way to start.


Although I have another home on the web I thought it might be nice to lead by example a bit and put this blog system up to the test myself.

So far, so good... Funny how I build web tools for other people that are far better than the one's I have setup over on KFnet.


Hey Clear Channel, Clean Up Your Crap!

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