Last year I gave a talk at the WIRED 2012 conference about the importance of designing our cities for walking: It's the simplest, fastest way to make a city safer, healthier, and economically stronger. At the end, I mentioned that maybe the best way to make a city more walkable is to make walking a much more conscious act, with visual cues all over the city. My idea was to use the phrase "Hey, I'm walking here!"—what Dustin Hoffman's character Ratso Rizzo screams at a crosswalk-obstructing taxi in Midnight Cowboy.
Back in Los Angeles, I was at a meeting for Los Angeles Walks, the local pedestrian advocacy organization that I'm involved with, when I told the steering committee about my talk. We all had a good laugh, but then realized it actually wasn't such a bad idea. Especially in a city like Los Angeles, pedestrians don't get the respect they deserve. How awesome would it be to launch a citywide campaign that would remind and encourage people to walk?
Earlier this week we launched Hey, I'm Walking Here! on Kickstarter, the first-ever pedestrian campaign for Los Angeles. Our plan is to launch a grassroots movement to highlight and celebrate walking through great design, public art, events and publications, and also to pass along tools that can help any Angeleno make their neighborhood more walkable. We're also launching a day of action around improving pedestrian infrastructure and developing a pilot program for signage that will help walkers navigate the city on foot.
Our campaign will not only increase pedestrian safety, but also highlight and celebrate walking across Los Angeles—something that's long overdue in a city where almost 20 percent of trips are made on foot. And by expanding upon our existing Los Angeles Walks work, we’ll be able to support long-term efforts to build a more walkable Los Angeles. We're looking for lots of Angelenos to join us, whether it's attending a community meeting, taking action in their neighborhoods, or just coming along with us on a walk.
As someone who prefers to move through Los Angeles on my own two feet, I'm excited to use Hey, I'm Walking Here! as a catchphrase to bring attention to the fun of walking. But I'm even more excited for someone else to notice the campaign, do a double take, and maybe, even change their mind about the city—hey, people can walk here. If you want to join us, and find out about upcoming walks you can take with us, click DO here.
This project is part of GOOD's Saturday series Push for Good—our guide to crowdfunding creative progress.