To wrap up May as Transportation Month here at GOOD, we asked the community to tell us what they were doing to improve their communities in our Fix Your Streets GOOD Maker challenge. Street hacks came in from around the country, and now we’re excited to introduce you to the challenge winner.
Through her project, Build a Better Block Community Bus Shelters, Wanona Satcher of Durham, NC, set about to solve a simple problem in her community: a lack of bus shelters. There were no city funds to build them, leaving transit riders (often elderly residents) waiting in hot weather.
Though Satcher works for the city, she worked independently to bring Build a Better Block to her streets. Together with other volunteers from Durham and local businesses who donated materials, Satcher built two shelters over the past two years; one shelter was created from bamboo, and the other has carved, wooden flowers.
But two shelters are just the beginning for Satcher. She started the Durham Urban Innovation Center (DUIC) for projects like Build a Better Block. She describes DUIC as “an urban living laboratory that works with residents to creatively solve challenges and bridges the physical environment with innovative placemaking and economic development initiatives.” Through the program, she has plans to continue working with the community to build a new bus shelter each year. “The residents create the design, sketch the design with local volunteer professional designers, locate recycled materials, and establish a schedule for weekend workdays,” says Satcher. “We already have ideas for next year.”
What do city officials think of Satcher and the DUIC putting up bus shelters? “The city—our transit agencies, city council— heavily supports the project, but most importantly, those transit riders who never had shelter,” says Satcher. “Our resident team will visit the shelters from time to time for repairs.”
For those looking to replicate this in their community, Satcher offers this advice: “Meet weekly with residents in [your] area and make solid partnerships with local transit authority. We included our city council and transit agencies in our social media and even invited this groups to volunteer. Find resident and small business champions!”
Congratulations to Satcher and her team, who will win a one-year subscription to GOOD, a t-shirt and a feature in an upcoming issue of GOOD magazine. To learn more, take a look at Satcher’s entry here.
And even though this GOOD Maker Challenge has closed, you can still take action to fix your own street. Next, you can join us in our quest to Explore and Protect the GOOD Outdoors. Click here to say you'll Do It.