USDOT announces Every Place Counts Design Challenge winning locations

Updated Jun 30, 2016

Iowa roadworkThe four winners of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Every Place Counts Design Challenge are set to receive “on-site technical assistance from the department and design experts in the field.” The program is an effort to “raise awareness” about barriers to transportation infrastructure and “identify innovative solutions” to reconnect people to essential services.

The department launched the program in early May.

The winners are: Spokane, Washington; Ramsey County, Minnesota; Nashville, Tennessee; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. USDOT says each winner gets a “design session” with elected officials, urban planners, designers and a “cross-section” of residents covering a transportation project with “potential to link communities to essential services such as jobs, healthcare and schools.”

“Through this Challenge, we have the ability to rethink some of our nation’s past transportation choices and improve upon them to design a better future,” says Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “I’m excited to work with these communities on creating inclusive and context-sensitive infrastructure solutions that reflect and incorporate the input of the people and communities they touch.”

USDOT also is seeking volunteers, such as design firms, urban and regional planners, engineers and academia to “to help the selected cities create forward-thinking, cutting edge solutions to infrastructure problems created by past decisions that cut off and isolated communities from opportunity. Volunteers will provide guidance and technical expertise to design session participants to ensure a robust dialogue.” The volunteer registration is available here.

The design session schedules from USDOT include:

July 7-8, Spokane, Washington
“The transcontinental I-90 was constructed through the heart of Spokane, dividing the working-class streetcar suburb of East Central Spokane. The City anticipates that the technical assistance will serve as an integrator to bring together those affected by the existing I-90 corridor with partners that are committed to creating solutions to further identify opportunities to maximize connectivity from the new projects currently underway while minimizing transportation infrastructure barriers.”

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July 11-12, Nashville, Tennessee
“Nashville’s I-40 was built through several predominantly African American, middle class neighborhoods in the 1960s, displacing residents and dividing a thriving community. Nashville plans to utilize well-established community partnership networks, gather input from community residents and business owners, host design sessions, synthesize ideas, and pursue implementation funds through its two-day design session.”

July 14-15, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
“Philadelphia’s Vine Street Expressway, or I-676, cuts through three communities, including Chinatown and the Callowhill District. The expressway has long impeded economic investment and access to green space for residents of these neighborhoods along its path. The city aims to produce an aspirational vision for the seven-block focus area spanning Vine Street from 7th Street to Broad Street, along with a roadmap for further public engagement, and an implementation plan.”

July 18-19, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for Ramsey County)
“The construction of I-94 divided the Rondo neighborhood, a historically African American community in the Minneapolis metropolitan area. As the city has grown more diverse, ethnic enclaves are still clustered on either side of the highway, now including Asian Americans and Native Americans. The community would like to develop exemplary models of community design and engagement to guide future corridor planning efforts.”