Archive for Friday, October 28, 2005

Consultant tries to save ‘free-range children’

Lawrence youths should be able to live in walkable, livable neighborhoods, expert says

October 28, 2005


Bruce Appleyard calls them "free-range children."

You know the type: children who are allowed to walk to school by themselves, trek to a friend's house by themselves, roam through the neighborhood woods by themselves.

Appleyard - a Portland, Ore.-based planning consultant - told city leaders Thursday that such children are an endangered species across the country, including in Lawrence.

"If we go through another generation like this, our children won't know what it is like to walk through a neighborhood by themselves," Appleyard said during a city study session on building great communities. "They'll be driven everywhere. I'm very concerned that when I talk to young people who don't have the ability to freely explore, they're losing a real sense of community."

But it doesn't have to be that way, Appleyard said during his presentation on communities that have created walkable, livable neighborhoods and commercial centers.

The idea fits right in with the new urbanism movement that city commissioners and planners have been exploring. City Commissioner Sue Hack said it was time for the community to discuss how Lawrence will look and feel in the future.

"What I heard over and over again is that we need to decide what our core values are and what our vision for the community is before we can really move forward," Hack said. "We need to have that discussion and get that direction."

Hack said the city should consider hiring an outside consultant - perhaps someone like Appleyard - to conduct informational forums and a public education campaign that would lead to new urbanism and smart growth strategies for Lawrence's future growth.

Appleyard said Lawrence has great potential, with new projects like the Hobbs Taylor Lofts that encourage people to live downtown. He said city leaders may want to formally encourage more of that type of development.

"You can put more into your existing downtown," Appleyard said. "Put money into making it the best place for walking and biking. Your downtown has so many great things going for it, I think you can really build on that."

Mayor Boog Highberger, though, said he also wanted to ensure that new developments outside of downtown are developed in smart growth manners.

Hack said that's where a public education campaign likely would be needed, because she acknowledged that developers sometimes associate the smart growth phrase with more development fees and more burdensome regulations.

Appleyard said that doesn't always have to be the case. In fact, he said, many communities that have successfully employed the strategies have provided incentives to developers.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

Are you offering your consultancy services, bankboy?

lunacydetector 12 years, 4 months ago

dream on if anyone thinks we can go back to the 1950's. it is too late. sounds good and all but who will protect our children walking home to the single parent or dual income household, especially since the smart growthers in this town hate the police and want less police presense? utopia is not achievable be it reaching back to the late 1800's or the 1950's.

the only education i see needed is a reality check of our local leaders.

a deprogramming is in order for this cult called smart growth (new urbanism).

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

You're waking those strawmen up might early this morning, Luny.

Given the facts of global warming and peak oil, which decade will that force us back to?

sunnysideup 12 years, 4 months ago

So why don't they quit letting these guys out and putting them in our neighborhoods with our children?? Douglas County PROTECTS their SEX OFFENDERS by putting them on HOUSE supervision. And this article, about putting in walking areas...? huh? I thought our neighborhoods were supposed to be safe! All of these guys gets placed in your neighborhood. Watch, one day it's going to happen to you.

bankboy119 12 years, 4 months ago

Why are we hiring a consultant from Oregon? What happened to all the ads about keeping business local? Great example Lawrence.

egress 12 years, 4 months ago

I'm with Sunnyside up. I have 4!!! offenders living in a 3 block radius of my home. There is no way on God's earth my boy is walking anywhere by himself. Has someone run a background check on Appleyard?

bankboy119 12 years, 4 months ago

I'm not a consultant but I'm sure there are plenty of decent ones in Lawrence or at least in Kansas, crap I'll even go for even in MO. Okay well I take it back that there are decent ones in Lawrence, we all see how the city is developing. At least keep it in KS.

weterica 12 years, 4 months ago


Have you ever been to KC, JoCo? Topeka? Wichita? West Lawrence?

If there are good consultants around here they aren't getting anything done. (Well, I guess the Great Mall of the Great Plains is hot.)

Now, have you been to Portland, OR? You will get your answer as to why they might consult someone from that city.

bankboy119 12 years, 4 months ago

I live up in KC now, but I'm up north not JoCo. Though JoCo is designed pretty well and traffic hasn't been that bad, except around 95th. I've been to Wichita too and actually liked it pretty well. Never been to Portland but what I do know is they just passed a law making live sex shows legal. And that some of the clubs are in pretty close proximity with the schools....sounds great.

weterica 12 years, 4 months ago

Okay, Portand is not an example of using New Urbanism to address urban planning issues. I stand corrected. I am humbled by your in-depth understanding of urban planning, and the terrible sex show problem that is destroying our nation's walkable cities. I forgot about all the children being humped off their bikes by sex show goers. Your grasp of the article is as good as your grasp of the issue. It's all about the sex shows.

J Good Good 12 years, 4 months ago

I agree that it seems like a pretty scary world, but I also think that people watch WAY too much tv. By far, most of the sexual (or any kind) of abuse of children happens when the child KNOWS the offender. Usually a relative or family friend that their parents knew they were spending time with.

The actual steal the kid off of the street is very rare. Admittedly, it is every parents worst nightmare, but I think parents that never give their child any opportunity to walk anywhere are cheating their kids too. As adults they are going to have to deal with walking somewhere sometime, and know how to be aware of their surroundings and "what ifs". There is a lot of education that you can do, such as "no adult should be asking you to help them in any way, like I lost my dog, or I need directions." By the way, lots of kids walk or ride their bikes in my neighborhood and I worry as much about the idiots that drive 50 miles an hour to get to the stop sign at the end of the block.

bankboy119 12 years, 4 months ago

Actually it has affected the communities by having the clubs there....but since the law was just passed we'll have to wait and see about how the neighborhoods will change even more for the worse. If Lawrence is really worried about property values maybe they should check out some other large cities and their valuable neighborhoods. How they are planned and certain entertainment is regulated to only part of the city. Look at the case of NY and what happened to property values when Giuliani cleaned up some of the neighborhoods that had the clubs in the area. Prices skyrocketed. Portland may have decent planning, I was just saying I know there's better and I wouldn't take advice from a city that really isn't at the top of the list of places I want to live.

avhjmlk 12 years, 4 months ago

It's not the 50's they're trying to go back to. I walked to school as a child in Lawrence in the 80's and 90's. It's really sad to think that I'm among the last generation of kids that was allowed to walk to school alone. It wasn't that long ago...

lunacydetector 12 years, 4 months ago

well, i think most of the smart growthers do not have children so when someone mentions that we can have latchkey kids walking home, they recall their childhood 40 or 50 years ago and the good ol' days.

portland oregon is one of the most expensive areas in the united states, thanks to smart growth policies. i wonder when live sex shows will be proposed locally (like in portland) as we have our kids let loose walking our streets?

Shardwurm 12 years, 4 months ago

I agree with keeping children safe - someone has to pay my Social Security when the time comes.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

Portland is expensive because of high demand. Same thing is pretty much true of Lawrence.

Curtis Martell 12 years, 4 months ago

I know, lets execute anyone we perceive might be threat to our children, then we can let them walk to school and we'll save money on the consultant!

Todd 12 years, 4 months ago

Thank you for being sane Bozo. People just don't understand what demand does to prices. They say, "Make housing more affordable". Every dime you put into that will actually push up prices. Unless you use the money to push down demand ;)

compmd 12 years, 4 months ago

I can't take the absurdity of this thread any more.

I'd like to thank jg and weterica for opening up some real thought on this topic. Would someone who believes that a strip club or "place of live sex shows" contributes to an unsafe neighborhood explain that rationale to me? Also, there is talk here of neighborhoods being unsafe because of paroled sex offenders. Somehow, their trying to get back to living a normal life makes the neigborhood unsafe for children. What about sex offenders whose crimes had nothing to do with children? Anyway, do you honestly believe that any of these people want to go back to prison for a very long time? The sentiment I have felt about safety in Lawrence is simply BE AFRAID. Afraid of what? Er...SOMETHING! Fear something! That something might happen to your children too! For the most intellectual and progressive city in this state, it seems as if paranoia false logic are still powerful. Sorry I'm ranting. Anyway, I think I'm gonna post this in the "no jack-o-lanterns for sex offenders" article because I think that is funny.

lunacydetector 12 years, 4 months ago

bozo and todd, more supply means lower price. less supply means higher price.

portland put restrictions on growth which drove up the price because of limited availability.

to think otherwise is VERY closed minded.

i suggest an economics class is in order for the both of you. the truth and the logic shall set you free.

TruthSeeker 12 years, 4 months ago

Luny D You keep using that "the truth will set you free" line. I heard it used on "Fresh Air" the other day.

You better be careful or you just might end up becoming a homosexual priest. Your worst nightmare.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 4 months ago

once again our city poobahs are xounding off about "more walkable neighborhoods!"

I'd like to make a simple statement, nothing to do with strip clubs {though I oppose them for anywhere outside of las vegas} and sex offenders {though I oppose them anywhere including las vegas}.

if you want more walkable neighborhoods, fix the sidewalks! clear off the "wild kingdom" that often blocks them.

all over town we have the wonderful ADA-compliant curb cuts...but in east lawrence and much of old west lawrence, they lead to nothing, sunken sidewalks, highly broken sidewalks...etc.!
if you want your 'walking kids' to be safe, worry about getting the rugramblers outa the street and on to useable sidewalks! this is actually a greater threat to a walking child than the sex preditor, or sex-show consumer!

come one city leares! how about a plan to fix the sidewalks!!!

end of rant, resume normal behavior!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

Of course, supply is part of the equation. But there are all kinds of factors limiting the supply of pretty much everything. Or do you think that if we just build enough $1 million houses or masseratis that the prices would fall enough that everyone could afford one?

Todd 12 years, 4 months ago

Lunacy> If you simply take tax $'s and build discounted housing in high demand areas it will simply increase demand and prices in that area. Then more real estate will be developed to support the larger population and on-and-on.

Jamesaust 12 years, 4 months ago

They say that free-range children are quite tasty.

blessed3x 12 years, 4 months ago

A former co-worker of mine, a traffic engineer by trade, moved to Portland about a year ago. After 6 months he had had enough of tailgate parties that served organic chips and fruit flavored beer. The straw that broke the camel's back was the city seriously entertaining a group's proposal to remove all pavement markings and signing from the city streets. Their reasoning was that this would frighten people, making them unsure of what was expected of them thus causing them to slow down and pay more attention.

Aaaaaaaaahhhhh. Can you smell the stench of liberalism?

Really off topic but and interesting.

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