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Neighborday Idea #1: Get Your Neighbors Walking

If we can get Los Angeles walking, so can you. #LetsNeighbor

April 25 marks the fifth anniversary of Neighborday, a global block party we invented to get people talking (and partying) with the people who live around them. Leading up to the big day, we’re sharing creative ways organizations in our native Los Angeles are connecting with the folks who share their walls and fences.

Stay tuned this week for more ideas about how to celebrate. #LetsNeighbor

A Los Angeles Walks Wayfinding Sign for Caminale. Sign design by Keith Scharwath.

Neighborday 2015 Idea #1:

A walkable neighborhood is a pleasant neighborhood. Encourage potential pedestrians in your community with signage that includes estimated walking times to popular locations.

Let’s be real—you can’t get the true sense of a neighborhood by whizzing past it at 35 miles per hour. To really get to know a place, you have to hoof it—smelling the baked goods as you pass the local pastry shop, getting close enough to touch a historic landmark, and talking with the everyday people who share your space.

Los Angeles Walks is out to prove that walking is easy, fun, and a lot faster than you think. Here’s what works for us, and how you can start to encourage more walking wherever you call home:

1. Talk to your neighbors. Say hello and find out where they walk or don't walk—and what’s stopping them.

2. Get out there on your feet yourself. Hunt down destinations people should experience up close, but may not be walking to already. Bring along a stopwatch. (If you’ve got a smartphone, it probably has one.)

3. Identify good locations for signs. Think existing sign poles, light poles, unused fences, or even spots on private property, such as businesses, churches, or homes.

4. Be sure you get buy in from community members, neighborhood councils, and city government before you post or alter any signs. Research local laws about where signs can be posted.

5. Create a map of sign locations and destinations. This doesn’t have to be fancy—it’s just to help you get started.

6. Design signs in collaboration with your neighbors that give walking times from sign locations to destinations.

7. Create and install signs in the spots you’ve marked out on your map. Walk Your City offers a simple sign builder to get you started.

8. Collect data about whether walking trips increase (through informal surveys or counts by local shop owners.)

Hey, if we can do it in notoriously unwalkable Los Angeles, you can, too. Before you know it, you’ll be walking right next to your neighbors, enjoying your surroundings together.

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, we’re getting a head start on Neighborday this Saturday. Join us from 9:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. on April 18 in Central Jazz Park at Central Avenue and 42nd Place.

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