Sidewalks, lighting, traffic, transportation, and safety:
We analyzed the portion of Weinland Park bound by E. 11th Ave to the north, N. Grant Ave to the east, E. 8th Ave to the south, and N. 4th Street to the west. This neighborhood is well equipped with sidewalks (although uneven and needing replaced at times) and is in a traditional street grid pattern which makes navigating throughout easy. However, the lighting in the area is not the best with there sometimes being larger than average gaps in the light posts. This can be a serious issue for people at night especially making them feel uneasy about going out to the grocery store or local community garden due to the area’s crime rate which is slightly higher than the average rate for the city as a whole. Feeling safe going to the grocery store or local farmers market is an important part of a neighborhood’s food security so this is something that needs to be addressed. Also, along the lines of safety, this neighborhood’s closest full service grocery store is 6 blocks away at the closest point and 11 blocks away at the farthest point. In between the grocery store (Kroger at High and 7th), are two very wide, busy, and dangerous one ways with few crosswalks available for safe crossings. Not only is 6-11 blocks a far walk especially for the disabled, elderly, and young families with children, but the unsafe conditions make the trip even more so unpleasant and even impossible for some. There is a busline close to this portion of the neighborhood, however, it simply parallels the high street corridor and does not really get residents any closer to the store.
How and where families access healthy food?
Families in this portion of the neighborhood, just like most of Weinland Park, primarily use the Kroger at High St. and 7th Ave. As stated above, there is a bus line in the neighborhood but it does little to get residents closer to the store. Also, this being a lower income area, many people do not have cars, therefore, walking is the main mode of transportation for many.
Would the residents consider the area ‘food insecure’ with lack of large grocery stores? Or is it food secure?
Residents of the area have to walk to their local Krogers to purchase goods to make meals. Krogers sells vast varieties of item to suit the needs of local consumers. While there are also many small ‘mom and pop’ shops, the residents of Weinland Park, and specifically this section, live in a ‘food insecure’ area. The small convenience stores have very small (if any) nutritious food in their stores. The only supplier of nutritious fruit, vegetable, and meat would be Krogers. This is an issue for the residents of Weinland Park. Residents need more food sources to best fit their needs.
Is the neighbourhood a ‘food swamp’ or ‘food desert’?
This section of Weinland Park is mostly a ‘food desert.’ There are very few restaurants or grocery establishments nearby. In the vicinity of Weinland park there are not many fresh food options.
What do you think can be done, if anything, to improve the foodways of that neighborhood and why?
The best way to improve the foodways of the neighbourhood would be building new and inspected groceries stores around the area, where those families could have easily access to healthy and secure foods. However, what should be a simple project become a real challenge if we relate it to the system that we live in. Supporting ideas like this is almost an illusion because although it would be beneficial for the society it cannot give as many profits to the private sector, those who control the market, as the current food problems can.
An alternative way to resolve this problem can be local projects of small and local spaces where those local farmers can use to serve healthy food to the neighbourhood. It is true that it cannot be able to serve all the people, but certainly it would be the begging for a new and healthy future for them. Moreover, it can also increase the local economy and maybe even make the private sector re-think their projects and ways of selling foods. As an example, we have a project of an outdoor local market to be located on east of Grant Avenue (in the map), which would be easily accessible by the neighbourhood.
People cannot wait forever for the authorities to resolve a problem, especially social ones. Everyone can start to change the world’s reality. All we need is motivation and hard work. What seems to be a change only to a neighbourhood, soon or later, will be the change of a city.