Sherman sat on the terrace, looking down on the city’s streets.
The city’s main hall had the old world-style architecture adopted by so many North American cities. The steps were broad but shallow, the columns large and of questionable integrity. The overall design was neo-classical in description, and grand in appearance.
Sherman sat in front of this display feeling entirely defeated. He had fought, hard, for a change in traffic laws to allow the people in his small city at least a fighting chance to walk or bicycle. The city was too car-heavy, he argued, with drivers congesting the streets at all hours, and rush hour making a five-minute drive last an hour.
“But if people wanted to, they could walk. They don’t want to,” the city councilors replied.
“That’s because you’ve made it dangerous to do so,” Sherman said. “Pedestrians have no right of way. If they enter a crosswalk, a car can just run them down, squish them between two bumpers, anything. Our city has the highest rate of low-speed vehicle-pedestrian accidents in the country. It’s absurd.”
“Ladies and gentlemen,” the mayor had said, then standing. “I think we all know what this is really about, and in this city, we will no longer suffer fools and their damned war on the car. If people wanted to walk, they would, and they would make it known that they want safer walkways. But people want to drive, and they should have the freedom to do so. They’ve made this clear to us, so I vote we dismiss this ludicrous notion outright. All in favour?” A round of “Ayes” responded. “All opposed?”
Sherman said, “Me!” But lacking any support, the motion was dismissed, and Sherman left, finally sitting on the steps of the city hall to wonder what next. He could see about transferring to the next city over, but it had a similar problem. He could see about one of the international offices, but this was his home. For now. Maybe not, he thought. Maybe not any longer, at least.
Sherman sighed, stood, and started walking toward his home. He reached the first intersection, and waited for a clear moment to cross.