The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced today that the “Go Bronzeville” transportation options education program will continue as a community-led volunteer initiative.
Go Bronzeville started as a CDOT campaign to help Bronzeville residents take advantage of the many transportation choices available in the neighborhood and throughout the city by foot, bus, train, bike, and shared car. As a community-led volunteer initiative, Go Bronzeville will continue outreach to foster a more sustainable and flourishing community in part by encouraging walking, biking and public transportation for all Bronzeville residents.
The program was originally funded by a federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant. Transferring the program to dedicated community volunteers will ensure the program’s sustainability and future growth.
Ronnie Harris, a third generation Bronzeville resident, originally joined Go Bronzeville as an Outreach Ambassador and will now take over the program on a volunteer basis. He is deeply attached to Bronzeville and shows outstanding dedication and commitment. Harris and LaKeisha Hamilton, also an Outreach Ambassador, served as Go Bronzeville representatives and leaders during the fall of 2013.
Their roles to date have included leading and attending community events, answering residents’ questions about biking, walking and transit in their neighborhood, and leading stakeholder meetings.
In addition, the Ambassadors played a key role in delivering the program’s iconic “Go Kits” by bicycle. The free tote bags contain transportation resources (such as CTA maps, bike maps, free Divvy passes, and more) and the resident’s choice of free gift: a t-shirt, a water bottle, or a reflective safety kit.
A diverse mix of residents signed up for the program, and Go Kits have been delivered to senior centers, public housing, condos with lakefront views, and everywhere in between. Over 2,000 residents attended outreach events in Bronzeville. Go Bronzeville also took part in over 25 existing events in the community including the Bud Billiken Parade and the Bronzeville Alliance Convention.
Welcome postcards and four newsletters were sent to over 7,500 households, and hundreds of residents have signed up for monthly emails. Harris assumes management of Go Bronzeville as a volunteer, and will build upon existing Bronzeville community partnerships and serve as a liaison between CDOT, Active Transportation Alliance and the community. He will also continue updating residents through social media and email communications and will continue distributing Go Bronzeville materials.
The grant will continue to fund walking, biking and transit encouragement campaigns in four more neighborhoods by 2016. The newest neighborhood campaign, Go Pilsen, launched in June and is led by Alta Planning + Design and the Active Transportation Alliance.
Alta is active in Chicago-area bike and pedestrian planning projects and manages other similar programs across the country. The Active Transportation Alliance is Chicagoland’s premier advocacy group dedicated to improving biking, walking and transit throughout the region. For more information, please visit www.gobronzeville.org or contact Sean Wiedel at 312-744-8182 or firstname.lastname@example.org.