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Streets for the People
Posted by: board member Renee Stetzer, pedestrian safety advocate and blogger at RocVille.com

Regular, everyday citizens rallying together can set in motion great change in our communities. After all, the people who are most in touch with what is needed in our neighborhoods are those who live, walk, ride, play, drive, shop and work in them every day.

Reconnect Rochester is happy to announce a new initiative that is a direct result of everyday citizen action: Streets for the People

Streets for the People is an initiative of the SE Quadrant neighborhoods external link in the City of Rochester. It is a resource to help educate and empower citizens to advocate for and create safer streets for all who use them. The initiative supports the belief that our community streets are made for people, regardless of their mode of transportation.

Streets for the People is rooted in the Voice of the Citizen (VOC) external link, a program that fostered creative community-centered solutions to public safety concerns within our city neighborhoods. The Southeast Quadrant VOC focused on traffic safety and helped organize neighbors to work together to address unsafe traffic flow, decrease speeding vehicles in residential neighborhoods and implement beautification projects. One of the most well-known projects was BoulevART external link, a community street painting effort that had a traffic calming effect for areas that experience high traffic volumes or speeding traffic.

Calmer traffic and slower speed limits along neighborhood streets significantly lower the number and severity of crashes, and provide other benefits external link that impact the quality of daily life — such as increased home values, healthier citizens, more vibrant neighborhoods and better air quality. Traffic safety impacts all people who live, work, play and commute in and around our streets. And the citizens of the Southeast Quadrant wanted to be part of the solution.

Pace Car Bumper StickerTuesday night at the Highland Park Neighborhood Association’s annual National Night Out external link, Streets for the People kicked off a program that calls on drivers to help make streets safer for all who use them — Pace Car. It asks drivers to sign a pledge to be courteous and acknowledge that our streets are our community and our responsibility. Drivers are asked to display the Pace Car sticker to encourage other drivers to remember that they are part of the community too.

The Neighborhood Pace Car program was created by David Engwicht external link, who is renown for his innovative thinking on empowering citizens to create vibrant public spaces and neighborhoods. Many know him as the creator of the Walking School Bus external link.

Marcia Zach, co-chairperson of the Highland Park Neighborhood Placemaking Team external link discovered Engwicht’s ideas while doing research for the first Traffic Calming Plan for the Highland Park Neighborhoodexternal link 6 years ago. Zach: “The Pace Car idea appealed to me because it allows everyone to be a part of the solution. After researching Traffic Calming, I found this is not just something that other people must do, it begins with our personal choices and education.”

Highland Park's National Night Out 2015
At Tuesday’s event, more than 50 neighbors and supporters (including me) took the Pace Car pledge.

Learn how to become a Pace Car >

Read about the new Streets for the People initiative and join fellow citizens in action to make our community streets safer for all who use them.

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