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The Streetsie Awards 2022: The Biggest Citizen-Led Victories

Photo: Steve, CC

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A lot of the most exciting developments on U.S. streets in 2022 didn't originate in the halls of government. Today, we're looking at projects from everyday people that made a big difference — and might inspire a few New Year's resolutions in 2023.

Today's awards just go to show you that Margaret Mead was right: you should never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

First up is the bike bus, which finally had its big moment in the U.S. this year after decades as a mainstay of the daily school route overseas.

Special high five to friend of Streetsblog and America's favorite Portland P.E. teacher Sam Balto, who's worked tirelessly for years to make this great idea go viral.

Another Portlander who deserves a Streetsie is Cathy Tuttle, who created her own DIY car master plan to reduce automobile use in her city, flipping the script on the ubiquitous pedestrian and cycling master plans that pretty much every city puts out. We love seeing citizens re-write the narrative about their local transportation networks (As part of her project, also Cathy created a framework for understanding the "four types of drivers" on U.S. that sparked a massive conversation of its own.)

A league of street-focused superheroes stepped out of the shadows  in April of 2022 with the formation of the Freeway Fighters Network, and they've been working together to tear down toxic highways in U.S. cities ever since. Best of all? You can join this league of extraordinary advocates, too.

Reimagining a car-dominated landscape as a people-focused paradise can be hard — at least without a little help. Zach Katz' AI street renderings inspired a cool conversation about everything U.S. streets can be when we don't put automobiles at the center, and a how-to for advocates who want to make their own.

Finally, good old-fashioned tactical urbanism also saw a big resurgence in 2022, thanks to a few cities' short-sighted decision to erase the DIY crosswalks their residents had painted. Of course, we would never encourage you to follow the lead of folks like the L.A. Crosswalk Collective...but if you're curious how they did it, we've heard there are some resources floating around.

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