Have you ever wondered who secured the permit for last summer’s great block party or how traffic-calming speed humps and new alley lighting appeared in your neighborhood seemingly overnight? Chances are, it was your local Block Club that made it happen.
Block Clubs are formed by people living along a single block or in a group of blocks. They can be as small as a single high-rise, or as large as a neighborhood. Block Clubs have a powerful effect on daily life on your street. Through collective organization Block Clubs help to gather and disseminate information, identify local issues and opportunities for improvements, and advocate for change. There are many examples of the effectiveness of Block Club activism. A neighbor might come to a meeting concerned that there are too many vehicles speeding down their street. Others concur and start a discussion regarding how the situation might be remedied. This discussion might lead to a petition for more speed-humps or sidewalk bump-outs that is delivered to the alderman. Block Clubs get results by demonstrating organized constituent support of an issue to local officials. These results can be stunning.
There are a huge number of things Block Clubs can achieve, from bringing neighbors together for a garden walk to combating crime. They are a great way to get involved in your neighborhood, a chance to learn about local issues, and have your voice heard. You can impact biking and walking in your neighborhood by introducing ideas like Neighborhood Greenways and Parklets to the conversation.
Uptown is lucky to have many active Block Clubs and, in James Cappleman, an alderman who works closely with clubs and actively solicits their input on life in the 46th Ward. I am in awe that he manages to find time to stop by most of WFCW‘s (my block club) monthly meetings, with updates and an open ear. Unfamiliar with your local club? The 46th Ward maintains a map and contact list, find it HERE. Get involved! Bike Uptown is proud to work alongside our Block Club Partners.
posted by Eric Hanss