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Doing it right: Davidson …

I had a couple of hours to kill the other day up in Davidson, North Carolina. This college town is about a 20 minute drive north of Charlotte on I-77. Bear right at exit 30 and go east, cross the railroad tracks and turn right at the light and you’re there. Don’t dare exceed 25 MPH or the local police will nab you. I know this.

The town is home to Davidson College and it’s a locale that prides itself on bike lanes, pedestrian-friendly crossings and sidewalks – and by all appearances, cleanliness.

While strolling up and down the main street, some of my attention was diverted to the sidewalk and curbs. It’s a habitual thing; looking for litter and such.

But there was nothing to be found. Literally nothing. There were no cast off bottles, no empty cigarette packs, no fast food cups.

These monuments to cleanliness are every few yards along the sidewalks in downtown Davidson. These aren't there as simple reminders; passersby actually use them.

These monuments to cleanliness are every few yards along the sidewalks in downtown Davidson. These aren’t there as simple reminders; passersby actually use them.

Yeah, I’m judging an entire exurb based on walking along a few blocks smack in the center of town. But holy smokes was it impressive. There must be some sort of civic pride in action; there are recycle bins seemingly every 20 yards. People obviously put those to good use.

I’ve passed judgement before on the litter sensibilities of other cities I’ve visited (St. Paul, MN, Chicago, Miami, Omaha, Portland, OR, et all) and as of this writing Davidson has earned the highest marks for the cleanest byways. Davidson is doing it right.

About Dave Bradley (264 Articles)
I'm the one behind two totally unrelated blogs; the first on 17 years of writing weekly letters to my kids (plus other recipients), the other on my localized environmental responsibility ( I'm a writer by trade and both endeavors are accepted practice for me. As for the letters, my adult children Ellen and Reid may have seen these single pagers as corny at one point, but it's accepted practice for them, too, to find something in their mailbox other than bills and junk mail. Email and texting don't do a lot for me for a lot of different reasons. Snail mail has its place in the communicative world and so as long as they keep selling stamps, I'm buying. As for and the environment, I advocate what citizens can do themselves to take a direct hand in their neighborhood environment. But Pick Up Your Path is also a general environmental blog. It may be largely about litter and trash, but both of those are just one element of the total environmental picture.

2 Comments on Doing it right: Davidson …

  1. In the past year I have visited both San Francisco and Toronto, both very large, very busy and modern cities. Regarding cleanliness on the streets and sidewalks the contrast between the two is remarkable. For my sensibility the allure and beauty of San Francisco of a couple of decades ago has been supplanted by endless trash on the streets and sidewalks. In contrast, one can walk blocks in central Toronto without noticing even a single cigarette butt. I see this as more a difference in the community pride and caring of the citizens than any organized effort by the municipality. I suspect the same is so in beautiful, clean Davidson.

    • Jim: Thanks so much for this. Keep it coming. I appreciate that you remain astute about the issue; but why is it that north of the border things are neat and tidy? Something is amiss down here.

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