Get a Crosswalk for Your Neighborhood In Six-ish Weeks Get a Crosswalk for Your Neighborhood In Six-ish Weeks
Get a Crosswalk for Your Neighborhood In Six-ish Weeks
As benign as they may seem, crosswalks can be surprisingly contentious. Politicians and city planners sometimes deny community requests using an antiquated, 1972 survey disputing the safety of crosswalks.
More recent studies—including one out of UNC—show that while crosswalks alone do not necessarily make pedestrians safer, when combined with other traffic abatement, they do make our streets safer. Rather than forcing drivers and pedestrians to play chicken, a smartly designed crosswalk will help them play nicely together. “Installing a crosswalk is one of the easiest and quickest ways to calm traffic in your community,” says Damien Newton of Streetsblog. We teamed up to figure out how this is done, exactly.
WEEK 1: Begin Documenting
You probably already know just from walking around your neighborhood where the most dangerous places are to cross. Pick one, study it, and record it* during one of the busiest times of day. This is also the time to start publicly documenting your progress. Start a blog or Facebook fan page and invite your neighbors. Don’t forget to provide regular updates- this will help build your case.
* Get a few face-to-face interviews to add even more to your story. Talk to people at the proposed site about why it’s needed and how they would benefit from it.
WEEK 2: Talk to Your Neighbors
After you’ve got your documentation and story down it’s time to start building community support. Good old-fashioned community organizing is a must: go door to door to gather names on a petition. Try to get email contacts so your neighbors can receive updates. Be sure to include businesses, Newton says. This will help show you have broad community support.
WEEK 3: Contact Your Local Politicians
Now that you have your neighbors on board it’s time to get your local politicians on board. Write your local council member, county supervisor or whomever can influence decisions at this level (and more importantly, whose constituents are asking for the crosswalk). Be sure to include your signatures and documentation.
WEEK 4: Contact Your Department of Transportation (or Public Works)
Once you’ve got your local politician on board, contact your Department of Transportation or Public Works Department. “Better yet, I would see if the council member would do it,” says Newton.
WEEK 5+: Follow Up
Now that you’ve set everything in motion, the rest of your work is simply following up. Depending on where you live this could mean an answer in a few days or a few months. We’ve settled on a week because, well, shouldn’t that be the norm?
-If there’s been an accident in the area of the proposed crosswalk, gather all related press and clippings and include them in your formal petition. “Don’t be afraid to use them,” says Newton.
-Throw a victory party. Invite everyone involved, and local press and the politicians who helped make it happen. Politicians need all the good press they can get and they’ll be more likely to help you next time ’round.
Damien Newton is the writer/editor of Los Angeles Streetsblog and likes to walk places.
Photo (cc) by Flickr user eflon
This post originally appeared on www.refresheverything.com, as part of GOOD's collaboration with the Pepsi Refresh Project, a catalyst for world-changing ideas. Find out more about the Refresh campaign, or submit your own idea today.
— Like us on Facebook to get more GOOD —
What if Simply Playing Soccer Could Power a Whole Village? Uncharted Play's Soccket balls ingeniously turn kinetic energy into electric current.
Next Time You're at a Pretentious Exhibition, Just Change It Güvenç Özel shows how a digital solution can augment a physical problem.
A Mosaic Shines in Philly A intimate conversation with a fixture of the Philadelphia art world.
Zaha Hadid Had a Busier Week Than You Did A posh homeware line, a math-inspired museum wing, and a blossom-shaped apartment building
London Skaters Fought Gentrification, and Won A coalition of skateboard enthusiasts just saved the birthplace of British skate culture from a future as a shopping center.
“What I Would Like to See is More Bystanders Stepping in to Take Action” The Everyday Sexism Project chronicles more than 80,000 instances of sexism around the world, and it’s making a big policy impact.
It's Not Where You're Going, It's How you Get There The future of transportation is now A look at futuristic forms of transportation that have become reality.
Inside the Minds of 11-Year Olds From Around the World A new documentary probes the special moral clarity of 11-year old children.
This Underwater Museum is Bringing a Coral Reef to Life A collaborative effort spurs a marine project off the coast of Egypt.
“French Navy” and Other Suggestions for Scotland’s New National Anthem EDM, art rock, indie ballads … let’s pretend it’s all on the table if Scotland votes for independence.
How a 17th Century Bible is Helping to Revive a Native-American Language One human language may die every 14 days, but the ancenstral tongue of M.I.T.-trained linguist Jessie Little Doe Baird won't be one of them.
Thank You For Caffeinating The dirty secret behind your favorite soft drink America’s $75 billion love affair with soft drinks has less to do with flavor than a specific, notorious ingredient.
The Daily GOOD
Get our daily dose of information and inspiration. Sign up Now ›