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Curbside hoops


Medford council wisely chose not to penalize the street sports activity

The Medford City Council did a fine job last week of refereeing a minor squabble over basketball hoops along city streets.

The city's public works director wanted the council to decree that the portable hoops be moved our of city right of way when they were not in use.

His concern was the tendency of Medford's street sweepers to run into them, inevitably damaging the hoop more than the sweeper. He said sweeper operators often don't notice the hoops because they are watching the curb, and when they must avoid them, a portion of the street goes unswept.

A city ordinance bars any construction in the right of way, but it's only enforced against basketball hoops when a complaint is filed. That's just common sense ' at last count there were nearly 300 of the popular pieces of equipment along city streets.

We commend the council for leaving things the way they are. Moving one of these portable hoops is easier said than done; when the base is filled with water to make them stable, they can weigh quite a bit.

As for the street-sweeper problem, it's hardly insurmountable. If street sweeper drivers can avoid parked cars ' which they must do many times a day ' how difficult can it be to keep an eye out for hoops? We haven't heard any chorus of complaints about sweepers smacking into cars.

— As for missing part of the street by avoiding hoops, a much larger swath of asphalt gets missed for every car parked at the curb. What's next, a ban on on-street parking?

Finally, playing sports on residential streets, whether it's baseball, basketball or skateboarding, is a time-honored tradition among youngsters.

In the time-honored lingo of pick-up basketball games, no harm, no foul.