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Long Beach, CA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: During Walk Long Beach's inaugural Ranchos Walk -- a 9.4-mile hike -- more than 400 walkers laced up their shoes and strode along the city's high ridge. Event organizers set up temporary wayfinding signs and made improvements to a crosswalk to make it more visible. Meant to raise awareness about the benefits of walking for fitness and recreation, the event introduced participants to streets and neighborhoods that many had never seen before. Stretching from Rancho Los Alamitos in the southeast to Rancho Los Cerritos in the north, the walk's route showcased Long Beach's agricultural history: The area's two original ranchos date to the 1800s. Organizers initially anticipated half as many walkers to participate, but residents of all ages flocked to the challenge. In 2021, Walk Long Beach repeated the event with the theme of women in Long Beach history.

Columbia, MO

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: Many of Columbia's sidewalks and bike lanes are outdated and substandard. To make the community aware of needed pedestrian infrastructure improvements, Columbia PedNet created a pop-up demonstration kit. Outfitted with traffic cones, paint, stencils, signs and other supplies, the kit allows local advocates to make temporary changes to the streetscape. Project organizers then worked with residents and the city's Public Works Department to stage two demonstrations to reduce vehicle speeds, making walking and cycling safer. Project organizers report many residents attended the events and gave their feedback on how to make streets safer. Columbia PedNet has more demonstrations planned and hopes to work with the City to make pop-ups part of its neighborhood traffic calming program.

Anchorage, AK

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: Organizers with Bike Anchorage wanted to give neighbors a glimpse at what their streets could look like with tweaks to make them safer and more pedestrian-friendly. They equipped a trailer with cones, spray chalk, signage and other traffic calming supplies, ready to deploy to locations ripe for pop-up demonstrations. In one such demonstration at a busy intersection near the public library, volunteers installed a temporary roundabout which successfully calmed vehicle traffic. They also created a temporary protected bike lane downtown. The project has already inspired more permanent improvements -- officials have earmarked funds for a future roundabout at the site near the library.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

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.

St. Paul, MN

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project installed a garden with native and pollinator-friendly plants at a local elementary school. Residents -- including a neighborhood Boy Scout troop -- pitched in to prepare the site and plant foliage. Community members have continued to tend to the garden since its installation. Spurred by the success of the garden, school staff area considering planting more native gardens in the future -- including rain gardens to absorb stormwater runoff.

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