Posted recently as an AppleCorps blog entry, this story highlights the positive community feedback from Feet First’s “Little Bridge” project that helped renovate a critical linking route in the South Park community.
a recent survey, conducted by feet first, finds community members are walking more on “Little Bridge” near Concord International elementary after improvements.
Posted by Will BeardApril 4, 2011
My name is Will, and I work at Feet First as an Applecorps member through Solid Ground to coordinate volunteers and to provide community organizing for Concord International Elementary.
Concord International Elementary is a K-5 public school located in the South Park neighborhood of Seattle that receives the international title from its language immersion programming, with bilingual Spanish/English education offered in Kindergarten and 1st grade. Concord is home to a variety of cultures and features a majority Latino population. This diversity is celebrated with enriching cultural projects, after-school programming, and parent involvement.
A summer/fall 2010 renovation project made possible through funding by the National Center for Safe Routes to School, Seattle Department of Transportation, and the Seattle Foundation’s Neighbor to Neighbor Fund that transformed a dangerous eyesore of a pedestrian bridge and turned it into a safe and welcoming asset. On September 10th, 2010, the grand opening celebration of the “Little Bridge” took place to highlight the new fencing, community involved painting, graffiti removal, and landscaping of the area.
In late January and early February of 2011, we went to the “Little Bridge” at S. Henderson St. in South Park, the pedestrian bridge that connects César Chávez Village to Concord. With help from my supervisor Jen Cole, and fellow Americorps Jenny Almgren from partner organization Cascade Bicycle Club, we conducted brief surveys to identify its current users and to record the opinions and behavioral changes that users associated with the bridge since the renovation project was completed.
The community members of South Park primarily use this pedestrian bridge as an essential utility linking their homes to their workplaces and child’s school, Concord International Elementary. The latter is the predominant reason why pedestrians take this route, which greatly reduces walking time to the school and features less motor vehicle traffic with fewer roadway crossings.
Our survey respondents reported a substantial increase in their perceived safety and some changes in increased walking behavior. Those who reported an increase in walking behavior also gave positive comments on the art and safety modifications.
One mother remarked how happy the family was about the bridge now being clean and the graffiti gone. One agreed upon issue remaining is that lighting outages occur occasionally making this dark area even darker, but residents can report these issues using this Seattle City Light form.
Whether they were walking during their lunch break, doing physical therapy, or coming home from school, we found most pedestrians happy to talk about their walking experience while hailing the bridge improvements. These small improvements and small investments in our built environment are making a big difference in the lives of the community.