Back to the Back Streets
This island awaits your exploration, especially if you think you’ve been all over but haven’t yet walked and driven along its alleyways. Back streets offer connection, interweaving between our city streets to increase the number of travel routes from one place to another. Alleyways also offer social connections and can serve as environmental corridors.
Glimpses of “Nature’s highways” along Galveston’s back streets on the east end, north of Broadway, where plants and flowers spill over from homes along historic streets canopied in old Live Oaks. Along these gravel and oyster/shell routes are where dogs are taken on walks on roads less traveled. Birds flit along fences in back yards from one property to the next, especially during peaks of migration in the fall and spring. Butterflies float in rays of sunlight traveling east to west at sunrise, or west to east at sunset. Legions of dragonflies and a few bumblebees buzz and dart. Vegetable, flower, and herb gardens extend beyond property lines, with pops of bright colors and fragrant smells. Spider webs spun uninhibited in corners serve as weather forecasters, with webs closer to the ground signaling potential bad weather.
Beyond providing additional travel routes across our island and restorative space and time in Nature, our back streets provide an opportunity for us to connect with each other. Alleyways offer another location where neighbors can meet and greet each other. Recently my neighborhood held an outdoor public event in an alleyway where our community members cooked ate a meal together and the children played in front of us “on the street”.
Because many alleyways are not paved, vehicles usually are driven at a slower pace. Nimble navigation is sometimes required for some of our back street passageways where pot holes, steep entrances/exits, and other obstacles are encountered. Focused attention is prudent on watching for others (vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists) who may not be aware of alleyways. For Galvestonians, being mindful of our island’s curbs and corners is always a good thing. Go get your discovery on!