Posted on July 22, 2010 by Aron Goldman
Seven of us headed out from the Y at noon yesterday to discover the North End. Gorgeous weather, visually rich. We used the Gerena community corridor to pass under I-91, we happened upon a bountiful community garden, and followed the giant cement wall that separates the Connecticut River and “Riverview Apartments and Senior Center.”
We were fortunate to be joined by a group of young people from all over New England who are spending the summer riding bikes and raising awareness about climate change (Students for a Just and Stable Future). They share their perspectives on Springfield in the 2 min. video below, and they are hosting a discussion about climate change at the Forest Park Branch Library TONIGHT (Thursday) at 6PM (flyer here).
Join us every Wednesday at noon at the YMCA on Chestnut St. (map) for a casual bike ride to a different neighborhood each week. Let us know if you’d like to guide a tour of your neighborhood. We’re headed to Mason Square next week. Try Holyoke, too!
Filed under: Food systems, nutrition, & urban agriculture, Health disparities, Housing & community development, Local democracy & civic engagement, Transportation & infrastructure, Wednesday Rides | 3 Comments »
Posted on July 19, 2010 by Aron Goldman
Last week, James, Marcos, and I did a test ride (route map below) for a new movement: WEDNESDAY RIDES. What’s the point?:
- Get in shape
- Create safe spaces
- Promote alternative transportation
- Get to know different neighborhoods
- Raise eyebrows
- Have fun!
Every Wednesday at noon (at least through August) we’ll gather at the Springfield YMCA on Chestnut Street and have a casual group ride through a different neighborhood each week. All are welcome. You will have aceess to the Y’s locker room. Bring a helmet.
Many people have said, “Sounds awesome, now I need to get a bike!” Let me know if you’re in that boat. The Y will negotiate discounts with a local bike shop if we have enough people. You can also check Craig’s List or the only bike shop with a Springfield address.
Coincidentally, the Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council just started weekly rides, too. Check out Ciclovía, Thursdays at 4:30PM.
Update: According to The Intruder, guided walks along the river began on June 30th. These walks also take place on Wednesdays, at 12:15. (Thanks, Sheila!)
Update 2: Here are some bilingual materials about the Holyoke bike movement from tonight’s Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council meeting (below, click to enlarge). For more info: Liz Budd, firstname.lastname@example.org, 413-437-0864.
Filed under: Health disparities, Public safety & criminal justice, Transportation & infrastructure, Wednesday Rides | Tagged: James Morton, Marcos Marrero | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 10, 2010 by Aron Goldman
Next week is Pioneer Valley Bike Commute Week. I’m planning on bringing my bike to the office (by car, I’m afraid), and riding to meetings. Do the same and we can compare rides (mine’s pretty junky, actually). I’m encouraging my colleagues on the Mass in Motion Springfield Wellness Leadership Council to do the same. There are a few different small events planned for Springfield and Holyoke, including:
- Holyoke: Commuter Breakfast: 7-9am at Highland Bike and Hardware, 917 Hampden St.
- Springfield: Shower with Helmet and Corporate ID: 5:30am-9:30pm at the YMCA, 275 Chestnut Street. [Anybody know what’s up with the corporate ID requirement?]
If you’re nervous about riding around Springfield (understandable), don’t despair: There’s new federal (DOT) legislation requiring accommodations for bike and foot traffic.
UPDATE: Steve Miller from Livable Streets Alliance and Harvard School of Public Health will be presenting to the Live Well Springfield Coalition on May 25th, 9-11 AM, at the Springfield Public Library. All are welcome.
Filed under: Health disparities, Transportation & infrastructure | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 4, 2010 by Aron Goldman
Yesterday I talked about environmental justice and land use with Ben Rajotte’s students at Western New England College School of Law. Van Jones (Obama’s exiled green jobs czar) set the stage with this excellent video (below). And I followed up with a guided photo-tour of Springfield’s most dramatic built environment equity issues (environmental justice tourism!). Download the slideshow here (PDF, 11.5 MB).
UPDATE: My friend Bill Childs (see his WNEC “Blawg” here) alerted me that the commercial activity around the Basketball Hall of Fame is not all national chains. Onyx is owned by two local guys (WARNING: annoying music!), one of whom is a WNEC alum. And Max’s is a regional chain.
UPDATE: Relatedly, today’s NY Times piece, “Slumbering Pittsburgh neighborhood reawakens,” is about the revival of a Pittsburgh neighborhood (East Liberty). The article refers to a “community plan” that called for “attracting shoppers to a broader range of businesses than the aging mom-and-pop stores that remained, reviving the street grid, and creating jobs and better housing.” Big boxes are never neighborhood upgrades, but I couldn’t help but consider the possibilities of attracting national chains but requiring that they are scaled appropriately, located downtown, and pedestrian-friendly.
Filed under: Civil/human rights, Economic & workforce development, Food systems, nutrition, & urban agriculture, Green jobs/economy, Health disparities, Housing & community development, Immigrant community, Transportation & infrastructure | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 15, 2009 by Aron Goldman
About twenty-five people showed up on Saturday morning for a lively discussion. As promised, we asked the question, “Is it a coincidence that groups suffering disproportionately from underperforming schools, chronic disease, poor air quality, limited access to healthy food, incarceration, and unemployment are also underrepresented at the polls?”
Click on the graphic to the right, or click here (pdf), to see the 6-page PowerPoint presentation we used. And check out the video below of Deburah Albury and Annie Jackson explaining what the Springfield Health Disparities Project is, and how to get involved.
And below that, check out the video of small business owner Bessie Crenshaw explaining a big problem with the new and improved State Street. There used to be parking on State Street in front of her store and several others (the 1000 through the 1100 blocks, all within the State Street Redevelopment and Economic Development Zone), but now there are “no parking” signs in front of those stores, as well as on the side streets. The impact on these small businesses has been dramatic. Bessie and her husband Leroy have created this impressive petition (pdf) on behalf of the Frederick Douglass Merchants’ Association. To send her a completed petition, to join them at a meeting with Mayor Sarno this week, or to just find out more, email her at bessie [at] crenshawl.com .
Filed under: Civil/human rights, Digital divide & media, Economic & workforce development, Health disparities, Local democracy & civic engagement, Transportation & infrastructure, Youth leadership development | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 22, 2009 by Aron Goldman
About thirty young people gathered yesterday to share their perspectives on Springfield with Elizabeth Clay, Director of the Governor’s office for Commonwealth Corps and Grassroots Governance. These highlights from the discussion (video below) give you a sense of their personalities and priorities. You can also see some tidbits from the conversation on the Governor’s civic engagement blog, and at the end of this story in The Republican. The stories of young people often get told on their behalf–and in unflattering ways. Seeing them speak for themselves makes all the difference. More details about the event here.
Filed under: Digital divide & media, Public education, charter schools, Public safety & criminal justice, Transportation & infrastructure, Youth leadership development | Leave a comment »