Lorain’s inaugural Better Block Event #LBB 2018 was a huge success and represented a collaboration between governmental agencies, local businesses and non-profits, and citizen activists who all shared a desire to showcase what a better built environment could look like and how it would function to improve quality of life and drive economic growth in Lorain.
LBB 2018 included many temporary infrastructure improvements: bike lanes, high visibility crosswalks, wider curbs/bump outs, and converting southbound on-street parking to parklets.
The budget for #LBB 2018 came in at just under $10,000 and the entirety of this funding was provided by Lorain County Public Health.
The event was held on Broadway Avenue from West 4th to West 8th streets in downtown Lorain on Saturday, May 19th from 12-8PM and though the weather did not cooperate, with rain periodically throughout the day, the street stayed active and all participants stayed engaged! #LBB 2018 hosted 32 individual vendors, 27 “Parklets” organized by local individuals and community groups, 17 brick and mortar businesses actively participated, and it drew an estimated 700 attendees who completed 88 surveys! The event was made possible by the contributions of nearly 50 local volunteers.
Approximately 70% of the participants were citizens of Lorain and 20% arrived at the event via active transportation (walking, biking, etc.)!
When asked which street changes they would most like to see in Lorain more than half of respondents hoped to see parklets become permanent and to have more bike lanes! More than 40% of participants rated wider curbs and better crosswalks as high priority as well. Nearly 90% of those surveyed agreed that Lorain Better Block strengthened the community!
In addition, 75% of participants made at least one local purchase at the event, with 55% making more than one purchase!
The Brick & Mortar businesses along Broadway saw increased foot traffic and revenue because of the event.
“On behalf of Firefish, we would like to say that Lorain Better Block was a great event. It brought life to Broadway and shows that there are great things to come for the City of Lorain.”
“At the first Lorain Better Block event we had a Tiki Hut Parklet where we handed out nearly 200 bottles of water. It was cool to interact with so many new faces and start new relationships with other vendors and residents.”
“I volunteered for Lorain Better Block last year not knowing what I was getting myself into, I was amazed at the amount of people and the expressions of joy on their faces despite the rain.”
“Better Block was a great way for our community to come together and temporarily transform our sense of place; all while having a blast.”
Photos courtesy of Eric Bonzar-Imperial Imagery, drone image by Steven Pallens