This Saturday evening Wooster Square neighborhood in New Haven celebrated the city's first solar street lights. On the Court Street bridge neighbors showed up to thank the city, SeeClickFix and President Obama for the added sense of security provided to the gateway of their neighborhood.
From complaining to resolution this is the story of how a neighborhood dramtically improved public safety in the past 1 1/2 years.
Wooster Square started documenting pedestrian concerns on SeeClickFix two years ago. Collectively lobbying for pedestrian in road signage they learned to work together to encourage the city to improve pedestrian safety.
Soon the economy started to dive and street crime such as muggings in the neighborhood started to pick-up. The bridge hosting this celebration was the most frequent location of the muggings and also the access point to the neighborhood. Neighbors met on SeeClickFix around the same concerns and started a neighborhood group to address the concerns. They then used SeeClickFix to lobby the private apartment buildings for lighting as well as temporary lighting from the City.
The final resolution came when the neighborhood group led by Kari Brady printed out the SeeClickFix issues and petition and walked them into City Hall. A promise to place solar lights on the bridge was realized and the rest is history.
There has not been a mugging in the area in over 9 months and the permanent solar lights are now placed on the bridge.
Here's to stronger communities stymied by citizens that were willing to speak-up and unite for their own safety. Here's to a web platform that can enable that engagement and that participation in a meaningful way. Here's to a city that has learned to respond to the needs of its citizens and enable their participation in defining the public space.
(Photos are courtesy of the New Haven Independent) Read about the Party in this New Haven Independent Article: