A group of interested citizens gathered at Velobahn coffee in Milwaukee in late August to gather some ideas and tools from local experts to create safer streets for people walking. Michael Andersen, from the Wisconsin Bike Fed started our day on National Avenue and 36th Street. We walked up to the intersection carrying “Yield to Pedestrians” signs, creating a visual reminder that people are crossing at this location and drivers must drive slowly and yield to people crossing. There was a lively discussion among participants about how to create education and awareness in neighborhoods across Milwaukee. There were also conversations with drivers about pedestrian and driver behaviors.
We followed the crosswalk activity with a community engagement activity led by Dominic Inouye, City Organizer for Jane’s Walk MKE, which facilitated over 40 free, resident-led neighborhood explorations around the city (and beyond) in May to honor the legacy of urbanist Jane Jacobs, who championed the voice of the people to create diverse, inclusive, walkable cities.
Participants rotated around the room, contributing to visual charts that plotted values and interests of groups, represented by the attendees of the workshop. The discussion created an awareness of the common goals from organizations across the community, who are invested in making Milwaukee a place where people are able to walk comfortably.
Tony Giron, former Community Engagement Manager for the Harbor District and current planner for the City of West Allis, led a session on building a grassroots effort to create change in the built environment. He gave examples of outreach efforts and coalition building. Then we walked out to the street to experience building temporary infrastructure that will help move the conversation toward permanent changes on city streets. Participants created a temporary bike lane, traffic circle and curb bump out and a painted crosswalk.
The afternoon session opened with a discussion and Walk Assessment with Tatiana Maida from the Sixteenth Community Health Center, Martha Cuena from Latinos por la Salud, community advocacy group and Caressa Givens from the Wisconsin Bike Fed. We considered the streets from the perspective of the people who live in the community and rated different aspects of the street according to how comfortable it is to walk.
We finished the afternoon with a presentation from Marissa Meyer, from the City of Milwaukee, DPW. She shared information about crosswalks design with a special focus on the Milwaukee Decorative Crosswalk policy.
Students from Escuela Verde attended this session and continue to work with Bike Fed staff on creating a design for a decorative crosswalk on Pierce Street in front of their school.
If you are interested in learning about future pedestrian workshops, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org