Mardi came north around the same time I came west. She had ridden a real estate boom, driving house prices up to an omnivorous market. She’d fattened six consecutive nest eggs- buying, fixing up, selling, buying- and cashed out and moved to a town where she could be free of all that crass southern materialism, free to live a more progressive lifestyle.

She bought a nice old Victorian, across from the stately old high school. She moved in during the summer and in the fall discovered that people drove down her street to drop off and pick up their kids each day. They parked in front of her house; they blocked her driveway. So she became an ‘activist’, and ran for city council on a platform to establish a ‘Livable Streets’ program that would ‘calm’ traffic in her neighborhood. Her friend Mike, a Community Studies instructor at the new and growing University up the hill, gave course credit to students who got out the campus vote for Mardi, and so she was elected.

When the high school parents learned that the new city-funded program would divert cars from Mardi’s street, and that they could no longer drop off their kids in front of school, they rallied at a city council meeting, wearing badges that defiantly insisted, ‘We Don’t Want Livable Streets’. The Divisible City Movement had begun.