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Augusta, ME

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: To increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine held a series of short-term traffic calming demonstrations in Bangor, North Yarmouth and Bangor. The pop-up installations increased the visibility of crosswalks and shortened crossing distances with simple, cost-effective tools. The Coalition deployed flexible lane delineators and pedestrian-crossing signs. They also painted pedestrian landings at crosswalks and added shared-lane markings -- called sharrows -- to street pavement. To gage the effectiveness of these activities, the organization collected survey responses and traffic data, which showed that traffic speeds decreased and pedestrians appreciated it. Project organizers say the demonstrations helped prove to municipal leaders that streets are for people -- not just people in cars -- and improving safety is possible without complex, expensive road construction.

Montgomery, AL

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: Drivers in Montgomery can't help but slow down when they approach the crosswalk on busy Mulberry Street. The crossing features solar-powered, pedestrian-activated crossing signals as well as a pavement mural -- all of which calm passing traffic and improve pedestrian safety. After calling on residents to submit their ideas for the mural, the City's traffic engineers painted the crossing to look like a troll bridge. Connecting a residential neighborhood to the local elementary school, the crosswalk depicts a wooden bridge with a mom, dad and baby troll hanging on its sides. The bridge allows students to safety get to school and also enables pedestrians to traverse Mulberry Street's many small businesses. We had about 30 designs submitted for the crosswalkand all of them were delightful, but the Hardy design made the whole selection committee smile, Lynda Wool, a senior planner for the city of Montgomery, told Design Alabama.

Tucson, AZ

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: With brightly painted asphalt, street furniture and large urns hosting potted cacti and other native plants, Tucson's Living Streets Alliance transformed the intersection of 6th Avenue and 7th Street, an area known locally as Corbett Porch. For years, the intersection had been dangerous ground for pedestrians and cyclists. By using inexpensive materials -- such as paint, planters and pliable posts -- to narrow the roadway and create a new, street-adjacent public space, the porch became a street for people. Where only 1 in 4 drivers previously stopped at the intersection's stop signs, a survey found that more than 1 in 3 were obeying the law. Meanwhile, Tucsonans flocked to the public space. Until it was removed to make way for a permanent reconfiguration, the project proved to be such a popular place to see and be seen, it even got its own hashtag: CorbettPorch.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Philadelphia, PA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Resources about housing options, safety and services

Description: An eviction prevention pilot program enabled tenants and landlords to resolve disputes before they escalated to formal eviction filings. The City of Philadelphia's two-month program provided mediation, financial assistance, information and referrals to help landlords and tenants reach mutually agreeable, out-of-court solutions. To do this, the City worked with partner agencies to train 10 experienced mediators in landlord-tenant law. The program also set up meetings between tenant advocates and tenants prior to mediation to assess their situation and offer advice. All participating landlords and tenants reported they were satisfied or extremely satisfied with the pilot. Moving forward, the City plans to use the results of this pilot as a model for a 12-month mediation program. In the long term, the City expects to see fewer evictions, reduced displacement and cost savings for landlords, property managers and the local homeless services system.

Philadelphia, PA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Engaging residents in vibrant public places

Description: Among the goals of the Go, Go, Go: Making Our Community More Livable project was to enable Chinatown's residents to build friendships -- Go outdoors. Go be creative. Go make friends -- in a linguistically and culturally accessible way. One out of five Chinatown residents is an older adult and nearly 90 percent of those individuals have limited English proficiency. To help foster social connections, the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation offered free art classes, with local artists serving as instructors. The organization then created a pop-up Chinatown art gallery featuring work created in the classes. In addition, PCDC founded a community garden club. More than 150 people ranging in age from 3 to 87 participated in the activities. The PCDC hopes to continue offering free community at its Crane Community Center, which broke ground in 2017 -- the first space of its kind in Chinatown.

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