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Gardiner, ME

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: The City of Gardiner hoped to improve accessibility by replacing crumbling sidewalks at the Gardiner Public Library -- and they wanted to ensure the community had a voice in the process. They put together a table display at the library, which featured photos of existing sidewalk issues, as well as examples of alternative sidewalk designs. They then invited library visitors to fill out a short survey with their design suggestions. Additionally, they consulted local older adult groups and held an event at the library. Based on community feedback, they installed 100 feet of new concrete sidewalk with a brick border. Organizers say community engagement resulted in larger conversations about accessibility and walkability throughout Gardiner, resulting in upgrades in a local park.

Swanton, VT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: As part of efforts to redevelop its downtown, the Village of Swanton has worked to makes streets more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists. To build community support, the Village staged a one-day traffic calming demonstration. Using hay bales and planters, the community created a barrier to separate the village's parking area from travel lanes, which successfully slowed down vehicle traffic. They also created bump-outs to shorten the distance needed to cross the street and make pedestrians more visible to passing drivers. During the pop-up, residents had the opportunity to make suggestions for long-term streetscape improvements. Following the demonstration, the Village planted trees along busy streets as a traffic calming measure. The Village also established a task force to look at other opportunities for future demonstration projects to test street infrastructure improvements.

St. Louis, MO

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: To demonstrate safety improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, Trailnet created a pop-up parklet kit for its Traffic Calming Lending Library, making it available for use around St. Louis. They then installed a parklet at Laclede and Vandeventer Avenues. Occupying what would otherwise be street parking spaces, the elevated platform features seating and greenery. The parklet's positioning shortens the distance needed to cross the street by 11 feet, making crossing easier for pedestrians. Trailnet also added striping to the intersection's crosswalk to improve its visibility. Additionally, the organization added bike and scooter parking nearby. Originally a temporary installation, Trailnet permanently installed a parklet at the intersection in 2020. The result is a safe resting place for cyclists and a community gathering place. Trailnet hopes the completed project will be a blueprint for intersection safety improvements throughout the region.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Blue Hill, ME

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Trails

Description: This project set out to create age-friendly trails in Blue Hill. Efforts included constructing an accessible walking path and installing benches along it to give older adults and people with mobility challenges a place to rest. Part of the town's larger Connectivity Plan, organizers hoped the trails would encourage intergenerational activities and give residents opportunities for physical activity. The route runs through Blue Hill's downtown, allowing people to walk to local amenities and shops.

Blue Hill, ME

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Lifelong housing and accessibility

Description: To showcase practical, affordable devices that can help older adults remain independent in their homes, Healthy Peninsula put together its Traveling Tool Table display. The tool table features 42 items, including a telephone with picture display, a smoke detector with a strobe light, no-tie elastic shoelaces and a seat cushion that helps a person rise from a chair. The exhibit traveled to five area libraries, where visitors were able to try out the tools and ask local experts questions. Healthy Peninsula designed the exhibit to be lent to other organizations, such as community centers, and featured at events, such as health expos.

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