Monday, August 5, 2019

Lessons from Boomertopia: Lakeside, Ohio



Some months ago, it was decided the annual family reunion would take place in a town called Lakeside - where my aunt and uncle have a vacation house. 

This meant Family Weekend would not be in my hometown-with-an-asterisk Mystic, Connecticut. I liked the idea of trying the Ohio town and I liked the idea of the whole family getting together even more. 

Since I was (and still am) busy through the year, I didn't have the time I wanted to have to research the town. In rumor I had heard it was like the camp in Dirty Dancing - only with more shuffleboard and fewer illegal abortions. My mother - who would occasionally ask my opinion of family meal plans months in advance even though I usually don't know what I'm having for the meal ahead of me and have difficulty recalling the meal behind - kept me apprised of the goings on and what I needed to know about Lakeside - one of which was a "visitors pass" that I'd need to enter and leave the area.

Unsure if I was visiting a quarantine zone like in 'Outbreak' or the Acadia planned community from the X-Files episode of the same name, we set down at the airport in Cleveland, Ohio to begin our journey by rental car to Lakeside. I unfortunately didn't have a chance to ride a bike in the Alfa Romeo of cycling cities* but I did get have just enough time to stop by the new location of Joy Machines - a shop I visited several times. Now I have so many cycling T-shirts I long ago put a moratorium on getting new ones...until I visited Joy Machines in Cleveland the day before Independence Day.



With a new T-shirt in my vacation wear clothing rotation, we made it to Lakeside, and we showed our passes at the gate. On narrow streets we drove to the rental home my parents were staying at. When we parked the car in a designated spot, we didn't move it again until we drove back to the airport three days later. We then watched the Fourth of July Parade - I was most impressed with the bike part - and if I had gotten there a little sooner I would have unpacked my bike Friday and joined them. 


When the parade was over I began to notice the traffic in Lakeside: it was mostly golf carts. 


There were also plenty of bicycles to be found - and I didn't see a single lock among them. The morning of July 5, I walked past bikes that were parked, on kickstands, overnight and nobody stole them. 



A couple of blocks from this location I found a three bedroom house for sale for $191,000. In the Bay Area it would easily be five to fifteen times that amount.

There was also a coffee shop that opened early - like, almost-when-I-get-up early. I wasn't sure if I had found utopia or was living the first fifteen minutes of the movie "Get Out."

The most uncomfortable I ever felt was when I'd have to enter or leave the premises. I did it twice on the Bike Friday - they scanned my pass on the way out and scanned it again in on the way back in. 

Outside of the gate, I could open the throttle and take quick rides before breakfast - and before it got too hot. I had derisively referred to Lake Erie as "Hasbro Water" since it just wasn't the East Coast, but it still had its moments where it looked like a real body of water and everything - look at the lighthouse:


When you bike or walk around Lakeside you'll see a lot of gray haired men and women driving around their grandkids in golf carts. That was when I realized I was in Boomertopia. A generation who worshipped cars actually built a place they would have hated to have lived in if they had jobs to commute to ever day. 

The golf cart thing is the nicotine gum equivalent of cars: yeah, I'm trying to wean off the hard stuff - I just need a little hint of speed.

And I do mean little. I Stravaed** the golf cart I drove my family with - all six of us - and kept the phone attached to the center of the steering wheel with the little clippy-thing used to hold golf scores. It topped out at 15 miles an hour. What's more, since these are slow, quiet and open - If you see your Phoenix cousin and your Los Angeles cousin as they approach and accompany them on a trip to get some ice.



There are other Lakeside quirks that aren't travel related - for instance several homes have an assortment of tiny miniature fairy lands set up somewhere on their property. 

That is just incredibly weird - but I suppose my sister and I taking Yoda action figures and adding them to the scene at the AirBnB may fall into the same category.


But to get back to the design lessons of Lakeside: It is accepted that a motorized vehicle should be governed to 15 miles an hour. Since the golf carts are small and not Hummer H2 sized, the streets are safer for walking and biking. Since they have tiny motors they are quiet, and that makes it easy to carry on a conversation with your dad on the front porch of an AirBnB during rush hour. Since it is widely known bikes and slow carts are on the streets at all times, the few cars that are in town drive slower. 

Since parking lots aren't needed the buildings can be closer together - which makes things more walkable/bikeable. It also means more buildings - which means less land wasted on temporary motor vehicle storage.

It isn't lost on me the retirees who inhabit Lakeside now probably would hated to have lived there when they were younger and had to drive everyday to get to work. It wouldn't fit in with the narrative of automotive contradictions we all hear (or make) every day. Wanting a house you can drive to quickly...but on a quiet and safe street. Wanting your grandkids to have a safe place to bike...but you show up at town hall meetings railing against adding bike lanes. Wanting less traffic...but you don't support affordable housing built near train stations and getting people ways other than a car to get around. 

The point is, when we talk about how we want cities to look, let's remind the naysayers again and again that some places have already gone or our going that route - and those places are safer for their kids and grandkids to play in. Sure, you get around slower but there are more important things than speed - like trying to try every ice cream place before your vacation ends. 

Let's not stop advocating, working, and making arguments for the kind of world we want. If we do that, we'll eventually, given enough time, be in charge. The history of the automobile may have mostly been written by our elders, but the future of our towns and cities will be written by cyclists. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding. 



*This turn-of-phrase is mine, but it was inspired by Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear who complained about different aspects of Alfa Romeo's but said they still had an 'Alfa magic' that made the cars like no other. I'm always going to have a strange, can't-put-my-finger-on-why affection for Cleveland even though other cities have better bike infrastructure, better bike acceptance, better weather...but it still has an indescribable something that makes it better. Visit Cleveland.  


** Strava is an app for jock people to help themselves reach new peaks of excellence and then brag to their friends about it. I just used it as a verb - past-tense. I need a shower. 


22 comments:

  1. Thanks for right nice information about this best topic, Join Best Watsapp Group Toady On HereWatsapp Group Join.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for right nice information about this best topic Such an Awesome Blog !! Keep up the Good Work !! all details about it really interesting. SarkariExam

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is an awesome article a debt of gratitude is in order for sharing this enlightening data. I will visit your site consistently for some most recent post. I will visit your website consistently for Some most recent post. https://researchsarms.fitness.blog

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for right nice information about this best topic Such an Awesome Blog !! Keep up the Good Work !! all details about it really interesting | BELLY BUTTON RING | HELIX EARRINGS

    ReplyDelete
  5. Here you will get detail informations about Best Can Opener Before buying this product you should read this article then it will be easy to select best one. Best can opener

    ReplyDelete
  6. Bucharest Escorts Independent with sexy Escort Girls. Beautiful high class girls in Bucharest. Incall and outcall appointments in convenient locations. Bucharest escorts

    ReplyDelete
  7. Excellent article! Thanks for sharing with us. Please try to continue regular post on your blog. phone price in bangladesh

    ReplyDelete
  8. I high appreciate this post. It’s hard to find the good from the bad sometimes, but I think you’ve nailed it! would you mind updating your blog with more information MobileMaya

    ReplyDelete
  9. In this section you find independent escorts, escort agencies and strip clubs from Bucharest, Romania.bucharest escorts

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you so much for sharing the article.
    Women fashion has always been in vouge. It has been continually changing, evolving, rebrading itself with every passing day. Compared to men,

    women's clothing has far more variety in terms of colors options, fabrics and styles.

    Just take a step out of your home and you would spot either a grocery store or a women's clothing shop first! No wonder even in the online world women are spoilt for choices
    with the likes of Amazon, Flipkart bringing the neighbourhood retail stores to you on your fingertips.
    Here we try to explore what are the other shopping options you have for women and what they are known for.


    Glambees is relatively a new entrant in the market but you will definitely love the collection you will find here. You mostly find beautiful ethic wear collections in sarees
    and salwar suits but some really good tops to pair with your jeans too.women's online clothing store dealing in sarees, salwar suits, dress materials, kurtis, lehengas,
    casual wear, wedding wear, party wear and more. The selection and affordability is its USP.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This article content is really unique and amazing.This article really helpful and explained very well.So i am really thankful to you for sharing keep it up..
    gym gyani

    ReplyDelete
  12. I m Really looking forward to read more. Your site is very helpful for us . This is one of the awesome post i got the best information through your site and Visit also this site
    satta king
    disawar satta king
    gaziabad satta king
    faridabad satta king
    gali satta king
    satta king chart

    ReplyDelete
  13. I m Really looking forward to read more. Your site is very helpful for us . This is one of the awesome post i got the best information through your site and Visit also this site
    satta king
    disawar satta king
    gaziabad satta king
    faridabad satta king
    gali satta king
    satta king chart

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks a lot for sharing
    Having good health is what most people out there wants but can not achieve. some people takes drugs to get it. buy weed online

    ReplyDelete