frequently asked questions
Why this planning process at this moment?
The idea for this work started with a Walkability Study that was done by 150 community members - it showed that the community urgently needs better traffic safety in some areas. The Marshall Square Resource Network (MSRN) Health Committee decided to incorporate this initiative into its workplan to provide technical support for the community-driven plan. While we all might like to wait until we could do this work in person, community members continue to be harmed by unsafe traffic. Like everything else during the time of Covid-19, we are learning new ways of engaging together!
Why only from 19th to 24th St?
All the streets in our neighborhood should be safer and healthier for the community. But with limited funding, this plan focuses on the areas that most need traffic safety improvements right now. By focusing down on just five or six blocks, the community can propose projects that will be meaningful, but also have a chance of being funded and built by the City.
Is the City, Department of Planning or Alderman involved?
No. This plan is being created through a process that is purely from and of the community.
How is this study being funded?
This planning process is being funded by a grant from The Nature Conservancy. There is no funding to implement the plan – yet! Once the community has decided which traffic safety and health projects are most important and the plan is complete, then the plan can be used to advocate to the City and State to get the project built. This advocacy can succeed if the community comes together around the plan.
Will this plan lead to gentrification or displacement of residents?
The idea behind this project is to create improvements along California that we as community residents and people who work in the neighborhood want. This vision is about better crosswalks, lighting, and more trees for current residents. To combat gentrification in our neighborhood, we must ensure that this project works in collaboration with residents and organizations that are actively planning for anti-displacement efforts. This has included workshops with local business owners on how to become owners of their own building, direct rental assistance support for community residents, and providing information to community residents from organizations that specialize in housing issues. We will ensure that wherever possible – in planning, but later in implementation – we are sourcing locally, and staying in close communication with current community members to make sure they enjoy benefits from any improvements that are installed.
What is next?
This is a planning process. There is no funding for implementation. The idea is to create a vision for the California Avenue that we want to see, and then take it to CDOT and our Aldermen to advocate for improvements that we deserve. Any actual projects would be far down the road, and would require millions of dollars of City or State funding. With infrastructure money being discussed widely in Washington, now is the time to think ahead. CDOT always engages in additional planning for such projects, and approaching them now will help ensure that our voices are heard.