Using Pop-Up Demonstration Projects to create a more Fit and Healthy St. Johnsbury

The Town of St. Johnsbury, the Fit and Healthy Coalition, and a volunteer bicycle-pedestrian group partnered with Local Motion's technical assistance team to review bicycle and pedestrian safety in St. Johnsbury. The intersection at Eastern Ave and Main St was noted as potentially hazardous due to the long exposure pedestrians have to vehicular traffic while crossing both Main Street and Eastern Avenue.

Screen_Shot_2017-09-20_at_1.59.54_PM.pngOne of the remedies proposed was to add curb "bump outs," which would essentially extend the sidewalk and shorten the crossing distance, making pedestrians more visible. These reclaimed areas could potentially add additional space for picnic tables, benches, and/or bike racks. For about a week, temporary bump outs were created using cones to give the public an idea of what the intersection could look like. 

Public feedback is a cornerstone of any pop-up demonstration project. Some might say that the pop-up itself IS a form of public outreach since it's "testing out" various design concepts before they are permanent. To gather input, St. Johnsbury created a web-based survey where they asked questions about people's perceptions of the intersection before and during the pop-up period. The survey garnered nearly 150 responses, with 60% agreeing that shortening the intersection crossing distance made it feel safer for pedestrians and another 25% noting that if felt somewhat safer.   

St. Johnsbury is working toward making the bike-pedestrian safety recommendations permanent, with the adoption of the Walk-Bike Safety Action Plan in 2017.   

 

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