Washington City Park is swarming with children. Soccer season has begun again, and parents line the field’s perimeter and cheer. On the other side of the field, toddlers play with a plastic truck in a sandbox.
The park bustles with activity, in contrast to the rest of the Friendly Area Neighborhood, which is a predominately quiet, residential area. Residents show pride in their perfectly groomed lawns and freshly painted fences. The neighborhood was built for families.
“It feels safe,” said Friendly Area resident Sue Kent. Kent enjoys walking her boxer dog around Washington City Park in the afternoons. “The people are friendly, and the neighborhood is very dog-friendly. The people are willing to help out others. I like living here.”
Easy walking is one of Friendly Area’s most attractive features. Three year resident Colleen Llywelyn lives on Jefferson Street, and gets everywhere in Eugene by walking.
“The central location is very convenient,” said Llywelyn. “Biking, walking, buses—they’re all easy.”
Llywelyn described the neighborhood as comfortable, and not stuffy. Washington City Park, one of five parks in Friendly Area Neighborhood, is a fine example of the comfortable, open nature of the neighborhood. The park, which is nestled near the center of the neighborhood, contains two baseball diamonds, two makeshift soccer fields, a quaint playground and a small, rentable community center. When the weather is fair, the park provides amble space for Friendly Area residents to play, walk dogs or lie out in the sun.
One thing residents notice about the area, however, is the degrading sidewalks.
“The sidewalks are jacked-up, that’s for sure,” said 27-year-old Derek Martin. Martin works at Little Y Market on West 19th Street and Jefferson. He has been working at both the convenience store and the restaurant beside it, Billy Mac’s Bar and Grill, for three years.
“This neighborhood has a family atmosphere, and those living here are nice. I love living here,” said Martin. “But the sidewalks we have could use some improvement.”
Friendly Area Neighborhood is a scenic paradise where every house appears to value the state of its yard. This leads many joggers, bicyclists and dog-walkers to Friendly Area, and the sidewalks receive even more traffic than the streets.
Unfortunately for residents like Llywelyn, many of the more quiet streets in Friendly are lacking sidewalks altogether.
“We definitely need more sidewalks,” said Llywelyn. “I find myself having to walk on the street sometimes to get to my destination.”
With so many children in the neighborhood, a shortage of sidewalks is a worrisome issue. While most of the traffic that filters through Friendly is residents, some walkers notice that speeding is also a problem.
“The city just needs to put in some speed bumps around here,” said Kent. “The traffic sometimes goes pretty fast, and that gets dangerous when we have children running around.”
But for now, all the children seem to be safely gathered at Washington City Park, playing soccer and hanging from the jungle gym. Smaller issues had by these residents are still completely overshadowed by one fact: they love living here.