The “Better Block” movement began 2010 as a grass-roots effort to revitalize community neighborhoods. Through “pop-up” infrastructure such as bike lanes, parklets, and sidewalks, residents and users of the space have an opportunity to sample potential solutions for their community development.
Recognizing an opportunity to implement the Better Block concept locally, community members partnered with the Better Block Foundation, Bike SLO County, local leaders, and Cannon to establish Better Block Central Coast (BBCC) to bring improved infrastructure to our neighborhoods on the Central Coast.
The first effort of BBCC included implementing a Better Block along the High Street corridor in San Luis Obispo. This heavily traveled avenue is a mix of residential and commercial, with an elementary school along the south-east side of the roadway.
Organizers gathered to temporarily transform the 300 block of High Street for a three-day period in what was dubbed as the “High Street Block Party.” The temporary improvements included a parklet located in front of the High Street Deli, bulb-outs to slow traffic, and crossing lanes to improve pedestrian crossing, along with bike parking to encouraged increased cyclist activity.
The project build began Friday morning with local volunteers using plants, fiber rolls, and temporary materials to section off areas of the street to make room for the parklet—a small park-like area for seating and shade—bike parking, and bulb-outs.
Activities surrounding the project included a complimentary bike breakfast hosted by local coffee shop and Cannon; a bike train from the elementary school along the street; a speech from the City’s mayor; and crafts, games, and live music all day long. At closing on the final day, the “Block Party” concluded with the removal of all temporary features along the project site.
BBCC focuses on the following activities:
- Facilitate community engagement though input and information, employing charrettes, neighborhood meetings, and workshops with residents, stakeholders, and governments about the value of rapid prototyping to enhance public life
- Host and organize study tours to benchmark successful examples of local sustainable initiatives
- Engage in community-based activities and tactical urbanism events to advocate and promote a mode shift from car-centric development
Like the High Street Better Block Party, it is BBCC’s goal to coordinate more projects of a similar nature for local street improvement initiatives.Back to Service
San Luis Obispo, California