CNU and USDOT Announce Every Place Counts Design Challenge Winners
In cities across America, aging urban highways impose serious consequences on health, mobility, and opportunity in communities. For decades, residents of neighborhoods bisected by highways have suffered from higher levels of air and water pollution, decreased economic opportunity, limited mobility options, less-active lifestyles, and greater likelihood of being struck by a car and killed.
Now, after fifteen years of Highways to Boulevards advocacy, CNU is assisting the US Department of Transportation for the Every Place Counts Design Challenge, a federally-funded initiative to reconnect neighborhoods and improve community health, mobility, and opportunity.
Created by Secretary Foxx, the Every Place Counts Design Challenge will provide technical assistance to repair the urban fabric in neighborhoods bifurcated by interstate highways. CNU will assist with implementation by leading four expert-led design workshops in four U.S. communities, helping local stakeholders and elected officials to address infrastructure impediments and create design strategies for improved connectivity, greater mobility, and improved economic access.
The four communities selected for Every Place Counts workshops in July 2016 are:
Spokane, WA, July 7-8: The transcontinental I-90 was constructed through the heart of Spokane, dividing the working-class streetcar suburb of East Central. The City anticipates that the technical assistance will serve as an integrator to bring together those affected by the existing I-90 corridor with partners that are committed to creating solutions through a collaborative process to further identify opportunities to maximize connectivity from the new projects currently underway while minimizing transportation infrastructure barriers.
Nashville, TN, July 11-12. Nashville’s I-40 was built through several predominantly African American, middle class neighborhoods in the 1960s, displacing residents and dividing a thriving community. Nashville plans to utilize well-established community partnership networks, gather input from community residents and business owners, host design sessions, synthesize ideas, post the results of the design sessions, and pursue implementation funds through its two-day design session.
Philadelphia, PA, July 14-15. Philadelphia’s Vine Street Expressway, or I-676, cuts through the Drexel School of Medicine, Callowhill District, and Chinatown communities. The expressway has long impeded economic investment and access to green space for these neighborhoods along its path. The city aims to produce an aspirational vision for the seven-block focus area from 7th Street and Broad Street, along with a roadmap for further public engagement and an implementation plan.
St. Paul, MN, July 18-19. The construction of I-94 divided the Rondo, a historically African American community in the Minneapolis metro area, and as the city has grown more diverse, ethnic enclaves are still clustered on either side of the highway now including Asian Americans and Native Americans as well. The community would like to develop exemplary models of community design and engagement to guide future corridor planning efforts.
Following the four workshops, CNU and USDOT will post reports and materials documenting the program’s findings on reconnecting neighborhoods and addressing infrastructure impediments. These materials will be available to support and inform the efforts of other communities facing similar challenges.
Each workshop will be open to volunteers for technical and design support. To volunteer, please Will Herbig: firstname.lastname@example.org.