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Washington, DC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: To mark the arrival of a new grocery store to the Bellevue neighborhood, Safe Routes to Healthy Food for Older Adults set out to improve traffic safety, increasing locals' ability to access food. At the annual Taste of Harvest Festival, residents of the Bellevue neighborhood helped paint a vibrant, vegetable-themed crosswalk. The event also invited attendees to paint reusable shopping bags, which gave project organizers an opportunity to chat with residents about their ideas for improving neighborhood safety. Following the success of that even, organizers created a second artistic crosswalk at a mobile farmer's market near a local library branch. While painting took place, project organizers conducted a survey to gather feedback on traffic safety. This led to conversations about residents' frustrations accessing healthy, affordable food. Organizers say they hope the project leads to permanent infrastructure improvements in the future.

Malvern, AR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: To improve pedestrian visibility and safety, the Malvern-Hot Spring County Library created a colorful crosswalk. Project organizers report the crosswalk has visibly slowed down approaching traffic. A local group -- the Ouachita River Art Guild -- designed and painted the crosswalk with a floral design. Library also worked with local master gardeners to create a pollinator garden and added a story trail. The trail includes sign posts displaying pages from a children's storybook, which can be rotated out as needed to provide visitors with new reading material.

West Hartford, CT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: The Town of West Hartford enhanced safety for pedestrians at two major intersections by installing warning light systems. Designed to increase drivers' awareness of people in the crosswalk, the solar-powered lights flash once pedestrians hit a button, indicating they are about to cross. The intersections -- one near a senior center and the other near an elementary school -- do not have traffic lights. Ahead of their installation, town staff distributed flyers and held trainings to educate the public about the crosswalks. Project organizers say the upgrades are popular with the community and the Town has received requests for similar crossing signals at other intersections.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Fort Wayne, IN

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: To encourage walking, cycling and other forms of active transportation, Active Living Indiana worked with Team Better Block to install a temporary traffic-calming plaza on Columbia Avenue. Located near Fort Wayne's greenway, the site featured blue-and-white crosswalk striping, public art installations, foliage and a temporary, bright purple bike path offset from traffic by cones. In order to show residents how changes to the streetscape can make walking safer, the organizations also hosted an event promoting active communities. There, attendees could take in live music, enjoy local food vendors, play street games and experience the traffic calming interventions in-person. Project organizers say they hope the pop-up demonstration will be a springboard for more permanent street redesigns in the future.

Fort Wayne, IN

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: Bridge of Grace Ministries set out to make the underserved Mount Vernon Park neighborhood safe, walkable and accessible for all. Their effort included physical improvements, including updated landscaping, new porch swings and banners promoting their work. They also conducted a storytelling project, inviting Mount Vernon Park residents to gather and share their personal histories and experiences. Volunteers videotaped the event and featured the stories on YouTube. Participants in the storytelling events reported a profound sense of connection with neighbors and the community.

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