Parking on the lawn

The Northwest Arkansas city of Rogers is considering a ban on parking your car on the front lawn. Adjacent Springdale did the same thing recently.

Other than a pervasive lack of sidewalks, two or three other cultural differences glared at me after moving to Arkansas. Two of them dealt parking: One was the ability to park on the “wrong” side of the road without being ticketed, and two was the presumed freedom to park on your lawn.

Roads in my own Siloam Springs are very narrow in many parts of town, including the street I live on. There are no curbs and no sidewalks — a more common piece of infrastructure paralleling the road is the ditch. Were Siloam to enact such an ordinance I would be forced to pave over my front yard to provide parking for friends at the occasional gatherings my wife and I host.

But I like the idea Rogers is toying with. Parking on the lawn is at best informal, and at worst reinforcing negative Arkansas stereotypes (which, while certainly based on observable occurances, should not be reinforced). The idea of widening streets, adding curbs and adding sidewalks to Siloam does my heart good. The city is slowly, very slowly, adding sidewalks, but the prospect for widening streets in the older parts of town is grim in light of the lengthy, very lengthy, timelines for other city projects — approved a couple of years ago and yet to begin.

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About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at pcNielsen.com.

3 Responses to Parking on the lawn

  1. Marylyn says:

    Oh, lordy. We have that here in Huntsville, Alabama. Or at least in the “poor” neighborhoods. People parking on the lawn. LOTS of cars. No curbs, no gutters. NOT EVEN A DITCH on my side of the street. Makes me weep. I’m originally from Boston. However, we DO have a sidewalk. In fact, on one block, there are two parallel sidewalks. The construction crews were confused? I don’t know. Not sure how much activism it would take to get curbs and gutters put in. Everything is expensive, and folks would probably still park on their lawns anyway. Cars are handy lawn furniture around here.

  2. TAE says:

    I’m from Nebraska where, basically statewide in my experience, there are sidewalks on both sides of every street, regardless of socioeconomic region. Some of the cities require homeowners to install and maintain the sidewalks in front of their properties. This isn’t always the case IIRC, and sometimes irks the property owner . . . once to the point of my father’s coworker erecting a “toll booth” on his stretch of sidewalk. Children could pass free, adults had to pay and city officials couldn’t use it at all (or something to this effect).

  3. Erin says:

    When I first moved to Siloam, I must admit that “parking on the lawn” was what I complained about most to friends elsewhere. I threatened to leave pos-its on people’s cars explaining proper parking. My husband asked me nicely not to.

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