Highlights from the 2022 Go Human Mini-Grants Program: Advancing Mobility Justice with Community-led Strategies in Southern California

Last month, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) concluded its 2022 Go Human Mini-Grants Program, which funded 26 safety and engagement projects across the six-county Southern California region. Safe Routes Partnership was proud to partner with Toole Design and SCAG to provide grant administration support to the Mini-Grants Program. In our supporting role, Safe Routes Partnership offered technical assistance with outreach and engagement efforts, application management, and awardee coordination.

The goal of the Go Human Mini-Grant Program is to build street-level community resiliency and increase the safety of people most harmed by traffic injuries and fatalities, including without limitation Black, Indigenous, and People of Color; people with disabilities; and frontline workers, particularly those walking and biking.

Funding priorities for the 2022 Mini-Grants Program included:

• Investment in organizations focused on or led by members of disadvantaged or underinvested communities in the region; public health organizations, disability justice organizations, social service organizations; parent groups; organizations that serve elders; organizations that serve rural communities.

• Leadership and capacity-building strategies.

SCAG funded 26 safety and engagement projects that demonstrated innovation, partnership development, and creativity that helped support resiliency and safety in communities vulnerable to traffic violence.

Here are just a handful of project highlights from this year’s Go Human Mini-Grants Program: 

“Revitalizing Public Transit through Bus Bench Art,” The Artlands (Redlands)

The Artlands, a non-profit program formed and founded to enhance the quality of life of the Inland community through the development and promotion of arts, music, fashion, food, and culture links artists to the public through a variety of services. For their Go Human Mini-Grant project, The Artlands worked closely with Omnitrans, the public transit agency serving the San Bernardino Valley to commission murals on bus stop benches. Commissioning local artists to design and paint the concrete benches, The Artlands aimed to bring positive attention to public transit in the community and transform bus stops into welcoming spaces that encourage ridership.

During the project period, local artists painted murals on a total of ten concrete bus stops located in multiple neighborhoods and in downtown, reflecting a diverse cross-section of the community. Like so many of the project awardees, The Artlands learned and adapted along the way, coordinating communication between artists and Omintrans, as well as testing techniques to paint and seal concrete so that the art would stay vibrant for years to come. This project was also a great opportunity to support burgeoning artists, who for many, this was their first public art project.

“Bicycle Safety and Education Training,” Eastside Riders Bike Club (Compton)

Eastside Riders Bike Club provides community bike rides, safety programs, and advocacy for residents and youth within the Watts neighborhood and is dedicated to increasing access to biking for at-promise communities, providing safety instructions and awareness. The Bicycle Education and Safety Training (BEAST) is a free program that provides bicycle education and maintenance, advocacy, and safety training to youth throughout Watts.

The additional support from Go Human Mini-Grants allowed East Side Riders Bike Club to host four BEAST classes, reaching 250 children and adults from Watts, Compton, and South Los Angeles.  During these classes, they refurbished old bikes for families and used their time-tested curriculum to teach basic bike safety, taking education to the streets with a bike ride with kids and their families.  East Side Riders Bike Club underscores the value of this family-orientated approach to enhance mobility for entire families, ensuring that every member of the family is well-equipped with a working bicycle so that they can move together to school, the grocery store, and other destinations.

“Washington Neighborhood Community Corners,” Arts Council for Long Beach (Long Beach)

The Arts Council for Long Beach (Arts LB) is the city’s official non-profit arts agency whose mission is to cultivate the physical, social, and economic characteristics of Long Beach neighborhoods by nurturing and enlivening the arts. They serve individuals, groups, and organizations through advocacy, arts education, public art, and grant-making within the city of Long Beach. They practice profound inclusion as a collaborator and convener of all communities, serving 456,000 residents.

Arts LB was awarded funds to support in-person and virtual community events as a way to meaningfully engage residents in the local Washington neighborhood to improve a problematic intersection where recent incidents of cars hitting pedestrians and near misses, drew public outcry. Dubbed the Washington Neighborhood Community Corners, the ultimate goal is to create four bulb-outs and community-inspired asphalt art located at this intersection to slow down vehicle traffic and improve safety. Arts LB led engagement that would inform future intersection improvements, creating accessible and multi-lingual opportunities to connect with residents about their traffic safety concerns. With support from Go Human, the project team set up temporary bulb-outs with Go Human’s Kit of Parts, using this demonstration as a way to discuss improvements and also reimagine the space with future asphalt art that would be representative of this diverse, multi-generational neighborhood.

“Equipment & Skills Essential for Promotores Securing LA City and County Safe Streets Contracts,” Los Angeles Walks (Los Angeles)

Los Angeles Walks is a nonprofit organization that envisions LA as a vibrant city where Angelenos of all ages, ethnicities, incomes, and abilities can walk or move safely in their neighborhoods. As an organization, they have many safe street successes under their belt like advocating for a pedestrian coordinator at the local department of transportation and the adoption of a city-wide Vision Zero initiative.

Recently Los Angeles Walks and their Safe Street Promotor Community Educators had been contracted by two local government agencies to lead and engage in two distinct projects to support active travel. The promotores as contractors provide invaluable expertise, not only bringing linguistic and cultural competence to engagement but also applying their community organizing expertise and lived experience as daily transit riders to more effectively reach community members and local businesses.

Los Angeles Walks identified a creative use of Go Human Mini-Grant funds to fill the gaps of this contract work to purchase essential materials to professionalize promotores, as well as provide training that would support them in navigating the administrative components of contract work. In highlighting their approach, Los Angeles Walks describes the significance of being responsive, open, and flexible in responding to both the needs of the promotores thereby that of the community.  

To see project photos and read more about all 26 projects, check out the Go Human Mini-Grants Final Report.

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