More than 20,000 schoolkids in Detroit walk to their bus, a public bus, or school each day. Often times in the dark. They pass abandoned homes, cross the street to avoid shadowy figures, and dodge potholes. Some are robbed. Some much worse. When I found this piece from the Detroit Free Press earlier this summer, I was stunned. My thoughts echoed a headline in the article, “How did this ever become acceptable?”
Over the course of the past couple of months, I’ve spoken with numerous friends, colleagues, and organizations in Detroit about this challenge and how we might be able to tie together open cities data on blight and crime with more traditional safe routes to school concepts. Standing idly by is just not an option. And the great news is that the more we get the word out, the more we’re finding out how much amazing work has already been done here in town.
But talking only goes so far, so tonight I hit “submit” and proposed the project as part of this year’s Knight Cities Challenge. Whether or not that funding comes through, we’re moving ahead. So stay tuned and prepare to join on the ride! And if you know of anyone working in this space, please, please, please pass this along or forward my contact information.
Photo | Michigan DNR
(Earlier this year, a friend recommended “blackmailing yourself” to deliver on a project. This blog post is that.)