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Chicago, IL

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Public plazas are not always grand sometimes they can make a big impact in a tiny space. The Rogers Park Business Alliance and other project organizers purchased a pop-up People Spot from the nearby Chicago neighborhood of Andersonville. The Alliance then deployed the People Spot on Clark Street, with the aim of amping up pedestrian engagement along Rogers Parks' commercial corridor. Also known as a parklet, the mini plaza extends from the sidewalk in what would otherwise be a parking space. Featuring new wood benches and greenery, the parklet offers visitors a pleasant spot to rest or eat lunch. In the future, the Alliance will move the pop-up plaza to different locations throughout the Rogers Park neighborhood.

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.

Hazard, KY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Addressing community health

Description: This project installed equipment, including workbenches, a 3-D printer, pipe benders and a drill press, to bolster a program in which volunteers refurbish used medical equipment and adapt toys to aid people with disabilities.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Dunellen, NJ

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Trails

Description: To make the half-mile trail in Columbia Park more accessible, the Borough of Dunellen installed 12 ADA-compliant benches. Volunteers added mulch around each bench and planted trees, shrubs and pollinator-friendly vegetation, with plaques identifying each plant. They also painted a footbridge connecting the part to a residential neighborhood. The project engaged Dunellen's mayor and Borough Council, along with the Dunellen Shade Tree Commission, the parks and recreation and public works departments, the Dunellen Arts and Culture Commission, the Dunellen Senior Club, the local football team and the Dunellen Municipal Alliance. Since installation, the Borough has seen a 44 percent uptick in trails users, as well as a 50 percent increase in older adults visiting the trail.

Berkeley Heights, NJ

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Improved wayfinding

Description: Officials with the Berkeley Heights Township have long worked to encourage residents to walk. To that end, an award-winning master plan focuses on making the community more pedestrian-friendly. To better inform people about local walking trails, the Township created the Trailblazer project. The wayfinding initiative installed sign kiosks at four locations, including the municipal complex, two parks and the community YMCA. Each displays maps of the township and its trails and provides paper copies for passersby to take with them.

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