[OSHKOSH, WI] – A temporary crosswalk has “popped up” at the corner of 5th Avenue and Knapp Street in Oshkosh in an effort to make it safer and easier for people to cross the street. This “pop-up” crosswalk is the result of many local partners trying something new related to public input and engagement.
“I walk with a group of kids to and from Franklin Elementary most days of the week and there is a lot of traffic on Knapp,” said Jackie Steiner, resident and member of Sacred Heart Neighborhood Association in Oshkosh. “We knew there was something that could be done at this intersection, and we are grateful to the City of Oshkosh for giving us the opportunity to try this out.”
The pop-up crosswalk is one type of tactical urbanism project, a resident-led approach to neighborhood building using short-term, low-cost interventions that hope to spark long-term change. Often when built infrastructure is put in place, it doesn’t always meet the needs of its most vulnerable residents. By installing a pop-up, municipalities can test out different amenities and features to see what might work better for the community. Gathering feedback from residents on the temporary crosswalk will be key in making a decision on what, if any, permanent enhancements could be installed.
“We’ve got around 300 kids that attend religious education classes each week,” said Michele Spanbauer, Administrator for Religious Education at St. Jude the Apostle. “Our parish has known for quite a while it is often challenging for students to cross the street. This new crosswalk looks amazing! Everyone’s efforts to make this a safer place for all are so appreciated.”
Residents who experience the crosswalk are asked to share their thoughts on a comment board at Uptown or through an online survey.
The demonstration project is a collaborative effort of local organizations, area businesses, and residents including Sacred Heart Neighborhood Association, St. Jude the Apostle, East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission’s Safe Routes to School program, Art City Wraps, Uptown, Oshkosh Storm Companies, Growing Oshkosh, UW Oshkosh Sociology and Geography Departments, re:TH!NK’s Active Communities and Social Connectedness teams, and the City of Oshkosh. The temporary installation will be up until May 8.