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Ohio City, Transportation

In Our Back Yards (IOBY) crowdfunding campaign hopes to improve experience of Cleveland bus commuters

(Plain Press, September 2016)   Two Cleveland residents have designed projects that received a boost from the second annual In Our Backyards (ioby) “Trick out my Trip” crowdfunding competition. Last year, no Cleveland projects were involved in the competition, so this is the first year that residents will have an opportunity to help raise funds that will improve the local commute for Cleveland residents.

With the support of TransitCenter, a New York-based foundation dedicated to improving urban mobility, “Trip Out My Trip” provided matching grants to the crowdfunding projects of Cleveland residents Kaela Geschke with Art Stop-More than a Bus Stop and Allison Lukacsy with Bus Stop Moves.

The goal of the 12-day campaign, which started on July 25th and lasted till August 5th, is to raise $11,500 for Kaela Geschke’s project, to build a new bus shelter at E. 22nd and Superior and $600 for Allison Lukacsy’s Bus Stop Moves project to hold three launch events to promote the idea of exercising while waiting for the bus. Art Stop: More Than a Bus Stop ended up with $10,335 and Bus Stop Moves ended up with $618.

Geschke’s project stemmed from her seeing young families waiting for the bus at E. 22nd and Superior in the rain and snow. With two-day care centers located nearby, Geschke thought the community would benefit from a warm place to wait. Geschke interviewed those waiting at the stop to learn what they would like to see in a bus stop – and learned that wifi to help check on the bus arrival time was an important consideration. With the help of ioby, she plans a project that will include ample seating, interactive game play for children, wifi, solar lighting to improve security and relief from extreme weather conditions for all riders.

Lukacsy’s project hopes to promote an existing project, Bus Stop Moves. Lukacsy says, “Bus Stop Moves started in the North Collinwood neighborhood in the Fall of 2015 in response to a community survey indicating residents felt the neighborhoods’ options for exercising could be improved.” She says that bus riders already get some cardiovascular exercise walking to and from bus stops each day. Her program hopes to compliment that with strengthening and stretching moves and other healthy tips from health professionals.

MetroHealth Medical Center’s Community Outreach Program helped Lukacsy come up with simple exercises and health tips to use for the program. The exercises are designed so persons with reasonable mobility can do them in street clothes on their way to work or school. Some of the exercises can be done while sitting.

Artist and Architect Lukacsy illustrated the exercises and heath tips on translucent panels to be placed in bus shelters. In each bus stop in the program, there is also a panel called “Take it to the Streets,” where the number of steps to a more traditional place of recreation is listed, like a Metropark or dance studio.

Lukacsy says that Bus Stop Moves is part of Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authorities’ (GCRTA) Adopt a Shelter Program where any individual, business or neighborhood group can be a volunteer steward of a shelter. Lukacsy says GCRTA has agreed to use its resources to print sets of panels for ten bus shelters. She hopes to use the funds raised through the ioby’s “Trick out my Trip” crowdfunding completion to have three launching events at three bus stops this fall. One of those bus stops will be at W. 45th and Detroit Avenue on the south side of the street. Each launch party will feature free fresh food purchased from local markets and a have local fitness instructor to lead the crowd in trying the exercises. Lukacsy says the funds raised from ioby’s “Trip out my Trip” crowdfunding campaign will help pay for the food and provide a small stipend to the fitness instructors.

To learn how to get started on your own crowdfunding project to improve your neighborhood visit ioby.org.

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