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OPINION: When I moved from the back to the front flat of Kilmore St, it was five months after the February shake and the once busy arterial route that fed commuters into the CBD had become as quiet as a country lane.
That is save for the adrenal blare of fire sirens as the engines exploded out of their make-shift shelter and belted down the road in hot pursuit. Traffic was so infrequent neighbourhood kids took over the space kicking their footballs back and forth in a rhythmic thud, while large gulls used it as a landing strip.
Now with the traffic lights going at the corner of Fitzgerald Ave the populace has woken up to the fact the road is back in busy business, up till the final end of it, which is still cordoned off with a vast, big fat zero of nothing going on behind it save for a skeletal construction in the ironically named, ''rebuild zone''.
Round midnight on Saturday I was on the brink of sleep when I heard the noise of car engines being revved outside, imagining the street had turned into a boy racer race track for the night. After a grumpy while I flung back the covers and harrumphed outside in time to see a contingent of packed cars of youths tear off down the road.
The weekend previously there had been a nasty domestic over the road with a couple spilling out of a car to air their vicious verbal grievances as random contents of the car were thrown out on the street. I witnessed it from down the road but as no blows were exchanged and it died down quickly, did not ring the cops.
So after the boy racers, or whatever ilk they were - perhaps it was the annual general meeting of the Christchurch Arsonists' Club all fired up with the next plan to light a match - had gone I went back to bed, turned out the light only to hear a distant bang, followed by a car turning with a screech of tyres and a louder, closer bang before an ominous silence.
By the time I got outside two young guys, having flung their beers out of the car were part stumbling, part sprinting down the road towards Fitzgerald Ave while several neighbours were coming to grips with a three-car pile-up involving two parked cars and the Subaru Legacy sedan that had slammed into them.
Emergency calls were made giving the direction of the fleeing absconders to police as we stood and looked at the wreckage, turning into CSI Kilmore identifying a tradies' badge in the front and tools in the back of the offending vehicle.
The middle car's owners were still out innocently enjoying themselves before coming home to the bad luck of being parked in a right place at the wrong time. The owner of the car at the front of the pack had lost the back fender and uninsured and numbed on kava was taking it philosophically.
An unmarked police car rocked up to pluck a witness from our small clutch taking them off in case they could make a positive ID. Then an SUV arrived full of wired-up passengers telling us that the offending car had previously taken out another parked car in Cambridge Terrace, jettisoning it right across the road before careening down Barbadoes St and turning right into our street, taking out the second car in a kinetic pool table manoeuvre.
Another police car arrived approximately 15 minutes later, two cops flipping out their notebooks to take down witness statements, and the unlucky owner of the first car involved in the altercation materialising pad in hand to take his own notes.
Apparently one of the alleged offenders had been found further down the road pretending to be asleep in a car, while the other miscreant at the time of this witness having tossed the towel in on the night's dramatic events, was still at large.
Like the quake, the car crashes had brought the neighbourhood together out on the street for community strengthening handshakes and howdy dos, but I am wistful and nostalgic for the bad old, good old days when our street was country quiet. As one guy down the road put it: ''After they opened Kilmore St back up again, there's been nothing but trouble.''
- © Fairfax NZ News