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Dallas, TX

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: This project introduced temporary public space interventions to start a community conversation about the pedestrian experience. First, local nonprofit buildingcommunityWORKSHOP held a public meeting to identify challenging conditions along Marilla Street, including obstructed sidewalks, narrow walkways, tripping hazards and absent curb cuts. They then set up a booth at a community event to ask residents about their experiences navigating downtown Dallas on foot. Based on their learnings, buildingcommunityWORKSHOP created colorful, portable ramp units and installed them on local sidewalks, making them ADA-compliant. This demonstrated to the community the value of walking accessible routes. Organizers plan to use learnings from the pop-up project to engage local elected leaders on accessibility and walkability issues.

St. Paul, MN

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: The city government in St. Paul hoped to enhance walkability through safety improvements at two unmarked pedestrian crossings along Marion Street. To accomplish that, the city created two long-term temporary crosswalks at Ravoux and Fuller Streets. The work included adding pedestrian crosswalk signs, painting high-visibility block-pattern crosswalk markings and installing pedestrian refuge islands and bump-outs. The city also restricted parking near the intersections and installed a temporary radar speed sign along the corridor. The project enabled local government agencies and civic organizations to gather data needed to support permanent crosswalks upgrades in the area. Using the results, the city began its re-envisioning Marion Street as a pedestrian-friendly, multi-modal corridor in 2021.

Northfield, VT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: Northfield Common Connections wanted to start a community dialogue about local walkability and pedestrian infrastructure. The organization set out to evaluate the pedestrian environment in Northfield. First, Northfield Common Connections conduced a walk audit. Volunteers traveled by foot through town and evaluated streetscape features that made walking easy or difficult. Additionally, the organization also conducted a survey of pedestrian activity, observing how passersby navigated the street. As a result of their evaluation, organizers decided to paint a walk-bike lane through town. To shield path users from vehicle traffic, volunteers installed delineators along the route. Playful wayfinding signage helps residents navigate the path and organizers added benches to give people a resting place. Organizers say the effort was especially important since the path serves a neighborhood that suffered economic impacts after a hurricane, connecting residents with needed amenities downtown.

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Gulfport, MS

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Public place improvements to withstand extreme weather events

Description: After Hurricane Katrina nearly leveled the Bayou View West neighborhood in 2005, the Federal Emergency Management Agency bought out the remaining residents and handed the property over to the city. Today, the 40-acre tract is known as Brickyard Bayou Park. This project created the city's first dog park at the site. Known as the Bark Park, it attracted more than 200 people and dogs on its opening day in 2017. the space acts as a buffer -- if the area floods again, homes won't be at risk. And once the park dries out, people and pups can return. Since the Bark Park's creation, the City of Gulfport has added a kayak launch, a disc golf course, a nature trail and an outdoor classroom to Brickyard Bayou Park.

Gulfport, MS

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space improvements to support recovery after extreme weather events

Description: As part of revitalization efforts following flooding from Hurricane Katrina, the City of Gulfport set out to give cyclists and pedestrians a place to shelter from the weather and sun. They installed a 20-square-foot safe-weather pavilion and benches along a new bike trail in Brickyard Bayou Park. The trail connects park visitors to amenities, including an outdoor classroom, dog park and community garden. Organizers report the pavilion project has since inspired other similar structures and trails in Gulfport.

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