Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I'm Drawing a Red Line on Misbehavior

I read an article in the Sacramento Bee the other day. For those of you not from the greater Sacramento area, the Sacramento Bee is our pretend newspaper. For those of you under the age of twenty-five, a newspaper is how roughly six hundred remaining subscribers in the country still get their daily information. It’s words printed on paper and usually has nothing to do with the Kardashians or Jay Z and Beyonce. I know, right?

The article was about how the Sacramento Regional Transit folks were planning to “ward off loiterers and fare cheats” at the train stations. Like so many other things about the “big city” of Sacramento, it seems that the RT system is just a Fisher-Price version of the real thing.

The plan? They’re going to draw red lines on the ground.

It seems that the light rail stations in and around the greater Sacramento area have become rife with loiterers, skateboarders, homeless people, drug dealers, and general miscreants, none of whom have ever bothered to purchase a ticket for the train. This has led to a revenue shortfall, which has led to budget cuts, which has led to some serious outside-the-box thinking from the RT muckety-mucks.

The area inside the new red lines “will be designated as a ‘Paid Fare Zone,’ where smoking, bike riding, skateboarding, and open containers of alcohol are prohibited.” It seems, after reading the article, that painting the red lines on the ground and putting up signs was found to be a significantly cheaper solution than actual fences and turnstiles.

I’m not making this up.

The payoff quote from Sacramento RT’s new red line visionary – “We want to start that process of getting people to think of our stations requiring fares.”

Yes, I guess that would be good. And I think a line on the ground – especially the “we really mean business” color red – is a great place to start. I can’t wait to read how this “solution” works out. If the Sacramento Bee stays in print long enough, I look forward to the follow-up article.

Here on the outer edges of the greater Sacramento Metropolitan Region, we have no trains. We have a few buses, though. I see them every once in a while cutting me off to get back into traffic after loading on another passenger to bring their total ridership into the low single digits. While we might not be cool enough to have any trains out here in Rocklin, I am still adopting Sacramento RT’s visionary light rail station policies into my parenting strategy.

I am immediately implementing the painted-line-on-the-ground system for a number of different trouble areas with my children. Son Number Two and Three, for instance, are much like oil and water. Or fire and ice. Or incredibly annoying to be around together - however you want to look at it. I have already painted an orange line around our entire house, designating the area inside the line to be an argument and whining-free zone. That should solve that issue.

Spills and generally eating like wolves has been another trouble spot, so I’ve painted a yellow line around the entire kitchen and dining area, designating it a spill and mess-free zone. Problem solved.

Proper aim and location of urine is always an issue near the toilets, so I’ve painted a blue line on all the toilet rims, designating the area outside the lines as a pee-free zone. If the lines are ever green, we’ll know there’s been a violator.

Getting the three boys to stay on task at homework and piano practice time has always been a major challenge, but not anymore! The purple lines around the piano and kitchen table have successfully designated them as slack-free zones. We’ll be laser-focused now!

Barefoot carpet Lego injuries have continued to plague our household, but the gray line I painted across the doorway to the game room has now designated the rest of the house as a Lego-free zone. Happy feet!

And lastly, as our children get older, we’re letting them have more freedom to roam during play time. They range up and down our long street with their friends, but we’ve yet to let them head over to the park by themselves, or down to the store. I know this is a concern for all of us, not just the folks in my neighborhood, so I’ve broadened my vision on this one. I’ve contacted the City of Rocklin, and we’re currently talking about a plan to get a red line painted around the entire city to designate all of Rocklin as a creep-free zone.

The idea was well received at City Hall, and they’re currently talking to the folks in Sacramento to make sure they get the line specifications correct. No sense painting a line around an entire city and then finding out it’s useless because it’s the wrong width or the wrong shade of red to keep the bad guys out.

Thanks, Sacramento RT, for all the great ideas. Keep up the good work over there. I can’t wait to ride one of your new, safer, cleaner trains one of these days.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go explain the lines again to my kids. They seem to still be arguing even though they’re clearly inside the orange argument-free zone. I don’t understand how that’s possible.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2016 Marc Schmatjen

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