In October 2021, a driver struck Leah Maugans' son while he was crossing the street near Lee Boulevard and 93rd street. Thankfully, her son survived. In the aftermath of the crash, Leah began pushing for the City of Leawood to install a crosswalk to keep other residents safe.
She reached out to BikeWalkKC for help, asking, "How do I demonstrate support for the crosswalk?"
We responded, "Build support among your neighbors."
Organizing a coalition can help develop strong, community-led support for safer streets and happier, healthier neighborhoods. A coalition is a group of people with a common purpose working together over a period of time to achieve change. BikeWalkKC recently explored coalition-building in our Advocacy Training 103.
Leah began to rally support with her neighbors over several months. Through her efforts, she gathered over 50 signatures from her neighbors for a petition supporting the crosswalk and brought several of her neighbors to city meetings as well. Leah also asked her neighbors and community members to write letters of support for safer crossings for pedestrians. One letter read in part:
“The families in our neighborhood value being able to access the community across Lee Blvd safely by foot and bike. A crosswalk at this intersection is essential in keeping pedestrians and cyclists safe, especially our youngest citizens.”
Leah and her neighbors made all the difference. The City Council voted unanimously to approve the crosswalk request in August with a quick turnaround for installation. In approving the request, they specifically noted their appreciation of community involvement in the process.
Leah’s efforts are a great example of how to bring people together for the common cause of creating safer streets for people. That includes three steps in particular:
- Making small requests with big impacts.
- Keeping neighbors informed throughout.
- Using collective strength to maintain momentum and keep up the pressure on decision makers.
We are honored to have worked with Leah and her neighbors. When she was telling us about the approval of the crosswalk by the full council, Leah had this to say about our work together:
“You helped educate me, bring continued perspective and helped me keep the momentum. BikeWalkKC is an incredible organization and I am eager to continue involvement.”
Thanks to Leah and her neighbors, parents and children alike will have a safer way to walk, roll, or bike across Lee Boulevard.
Did you know? BikeWalkKC’s advocacy efforts are member-supported! You can lend your voice to our work by becoming a member today. And get the latest on bicycle- and pedestrian-related happenings when you subscribe to our newsletter!