We’ve been busy cooking up some pretty cool and incredibly useful projects at The Glue this year. One of our favorites is a crowdsourcing app that we are calling Eyes on the Street. It will allow anyone in LA to submit data on the condition of sidewalks all around the city. We want to know if a sidewalk is accessible to people in wheelchairs, if it’s lit, if it’s buckling, uneven, has potholes, or my personal favorite, if a sidewalk is used as an apartment building’s trash can storage area — boo!
If you live in LA you will not be surprised that at least 40% of our sidewalks need repair. That is just an estimate, because no one really knows.
That’s where The Glue comes in. using a data schema developed by the geniuses at the University of Washington’s Taskar Center for Accessible Technology, we will collect and aggregate the data and make it completely free and open source to mapmakers, developers and the city. (Brag: I even went to highschool with the head genius, Anat Caspi.) Not only is the data on crummy sidewalks invaluable for making repairs, but we also want to know where the good sidewalks are, so that people can plan trips on safe accessible sidewalks, whether they are going to and from a train, a bus, a car or just using the sidewalk. The Taskar Center has done this for Seattle and we are excited to do it for LA.
A few weeks ago we presented our prototype Eyes on the Street (aka Streetwalker) to a crowd of civic minded design enthusiasts in downtown LA’s super cool City Market South space. It was part of de Lab’s Making LA Together design series. We got some amazing feedback and momentum to take our prototype to launch. We are looking to release Eyes on the Street in Los Angeles first as it’s the hometown team, but the app can be tailored to any city in the country — the world actually.
Finally the name. We always get asked about our names (see: Glue, the). Eyes on the Street is a term Jane Jacobs used to describe that feeling of safety that we get while walking on well-used, a well-loved and a self-policed street. It’s the type of street we feel good hanging out on, the kinds of streets we want to build and use in LA.