Last year, when I was strolling about London, I gave a talk at the WIRED 2012 conference about the importance of designing our cities for walking: It’s the simplest, fastest way to make a city safer, healthier, and economically stronger. At the end, I mentioned that maybe the best way to make a city more walkable is to make walking a much more conscious act, with visual cues all over the city. My idea was to use the phrase “Hey, I’m walking here!“—what Ratso Rizzo screams at a crosswalk-obstructing taxi in Midnight Cowboy.
Back in Los Angeles, I was at a meeting for Los Angeles Walks, the local pedestrian advocacy organization I’ve told you about before, when I told the steering committee about my talk. We all had a good laugh, but then realized it actually wasn’t such a bad idea. Especially in a city like Los Angeles, pedestrians don’t get the respect they deserve. How awesome would it be to launch a citywide campaign that would not only encourage people to walk, but also serve as a way to remind everyone that LA is indeed being used by pedestrians?
Earlier this month we launched Hey, I’m Walking Here! on Kickstarter, the first-ever pedestrian campaign for Los Angeles (yes, when our LA 2050 proposal didn’t win, we put it on Kickstarter). Our plan is to launch a grassroots movement to highlight and celebrate walking through great design, public art, events and publications, and also to pass along tools that can help any Angeleno make their neighborhood more walkable. We’re also launching a day of action around improving pedestrian infrastructure and developing a pilot program for signage that will help walkers navigate the city on foot.
Our campaign will not only increase pedestrian safety, but also highlight and celebrate walking across Los Angeles—something that’s long overdue in this city. And by expanding upon our existing Los Angeles Walks work, we’ll be able to support long-term efforts to build a more walkable Los Angeles.
Now here’s where you come in…
Until May 31 (just over a week!) you can back our Hey, I’m Walking Here campaign on Kickstarter and get some awesome rewards:
- For the $10-50 range, we’ve got all the beautiful Los Angeles Walks merchandise designed by Colleen Corcoran, including buttons, posters and awesome new bandanas.
- If you pledge $100 or more, you’ll come to our Meet the Pedestrian Coordinators dinner here in LA on June 1, honoring the city’s new pedestrian coordinators Margot Ocañas (who I wrote about for the LA Weekly’s People Issue) and Valerie Watson. The dinner is being held at the home of our founder Deborah Murphy, which was designed by Case Study architect JR Davidson and remodeled by RM Schindler (and photographed by Julius Shulman). Deborah’s also a caterer and is preparing a feast inspired by LA’s iconic street food—bacon-wrapped hot dogs! Korean tacos!—with local beer, wine and aguas frescas cocktails. It will be a great night!
- And if you pledge $250 or more, you get everything above PLUS two dinner tickets AND you can choose from custom walking adventures led by Los Angeles Walks steering committee members, like a one-of-a-kind architectural walking tour in the neighborhood of your choice with yours truly. My tour also includes ice cream (of course). This would be a great reward to share with friends or neighbors. Or keep all to yourself.
We’re at about 73% of our goal as I type this, with a little over a week left. Every little bit helps, but even if you just give us $1 (you can!), you’ll be on our mailing list and will be the first to find out about all the awesome events and initiatives where you can get involved. Thank you so much for your support! See you June 1!