Bake Sales for Crosswalks

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The needs of non-drivers go neglected when there’s no Big Project to attach them to, just hundreds of small standalone needs. An orderly but dumb system doesn’t know what to do with hundreds of individually small needs that add up to a big need. The standard protocol—do a full project proposal, get the grant or budget request approved, assign a planner or a whole team to it, do the public engagement, solicit bids, hire a contractor, get it built—doesn’t work with small: it would paralyze the gears of the system to do that hundreds of times over.

But it’s not that the money isn’t there. It’s never been that. Southeastern Idaho could do incredible things with that $100 million for the “Flying Y,” things that would radically improve the safety, comfort, and dignity of those trying to get around outside a vehicle. But it would have to happen through a process that is far more nimble, and one that is oriented toward rapidly identifying and meeting pressing on-the-ground needs, rather than toward the idea of a checklist of big-ticket projects. That’s something that isn’t in the DNA of Idaho’s or any state’s transportation department. It’s not what they were built to do, and it’s going to take a concerted effort at every level, from local advocacy to federal pressure, to make them pivot. 

In the meantime, I know we all enjoy crossing the street without fear of dying, so, uh, who’s up for a bake sale?

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