We don’t have to wait

Back in November, I was in a room full of people, maps, and markers at the Anacostia Community Museum. It buzzed. “What if we put in a miniature park with trees at this turn so drivers have to slow down?” “Can we put in contraflow bike lane here so the kids riding to the park can do it safely?” “What if we made this street in front of a school one way, rather than cut-through to the highway?” “Can we paint a mural in this intersection?”

We want to make the answer to all of these questions a resounding yesCan you help?

Here at WABA, we hear the same question from all over the region: Why does it take so long to make streets safer? The answer is predictable, of course: someone needs to study it, to plan it, seek public input, find funding, do the engineering—the list goes on. In DC’s Ward 8, where I do most of my work, you can add a century of racist urban planning to list of barriers to safer streets. And while the bureaucratic process plods on, people keep getting hurt just trying to get where they’re going. 

Our meeting last month was about Tactical Urbanism, which is the idea that we don’t need to wait to make streets safer and more liveable. With some cheap tools—paint, plastic, potted plants—you can quickly make places for people to bike and walk and cross the street; you can test out ideas and build public support for longer term, permanent fixes.

With help from our corporate partner Spin, we brought together tactical urbanism experts, residents, ANC commissioners, and advocates from across the city to workshop some dangerous intersections and stretches of road. In the spring, with your investment today, we’ll be out there with power tools and paint.

If you’re anything like me, turning a bucket of paint into an overdue crosswalk sounds like a fantastic way to spend a weekend. Make a donation today to help make it happen! I’ll send you a note when we schedule the builds in the spring.