In this program within Spark Placemaking, we collaborate with municipal officials, neighborhood leaders to reclaim streets, sidewalks, and adjacent public spaces as places for people. Key outcomes of this work are more sustainable communities and healthier and safer residents.
First, locations (intersections, streets, public spaces) are identified by neighbors through a community engagement process. We then use art, design, and tactical urbanism and placemaking approaches learned through studying national and international best practices to test and implement projects making communities more livable.
We’re teaming up to:
• Test and install lighter, quicker, cheaper infrastructure changes (bike lanes, painted streets, bump outs, roundabouts) to calm traffic and make walking and bike riding more comfortable, safer, and more aesthetically pleasing for recreational use and travel to and from work, school, shopping, etc. This work includes a collaborative Street Mural and Creative Crosswalks program.
• Create, furnish, and program linger nodes where people spend time together in publicly accessible places (green spaces, bus stops, sidewalks, streets, alleys, etc.). This work includes establishing an official Parklet program that helps businesses and other partners install creative seating areas in spaces used by parking. Some of this work may include more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing bus stops.
• Bring creative and functional bike racks to communities.
A big part of our effort is to emphasize the difference between streets and roads. Streets should be designed and managed for human-scale uses in neighborhood areas where people live, shop, relax, and socialize. Roads are main arterial routes made for moving people from place to place in vehicles. We don’t have a problem with roads, or traffic moving smoothly through the city. But, in many areas, neighborhood streets are currently functioning like roads. And that leads to pockets of blight, isolated poverty, and disconnection from schools, parks, shopping, and our citywide bike and pedestrian trail system.
View pictures of street painting here.
Pics from Better Block test in Garfield Park here.
Pics from crosswalk and desire line path on the far eastside here.