Baltimore, MD- October 12th marks the 26th anniversary of the National Walk or Roll to School Day. The organization that sponsors this national event is Safe Routes. The event brings awareness to student and pedestrian safety while walking, bicycling, skateboarding, etc; to school and back home safely. A staggering statistic found that people of color are hit and killed at an 82% higher rate than White Americans. Historically, many low-income communities and underserved populations are disproportionately impacted by dangerous roadways and non-effective street signs.

That is why National Design Center (NDC), is taking a proactive approach to implementing
safety precautions for students and pedestrians in East Baltimore. On average, a Baltimore resident dies every week from injuries sustained in a traffic-related accident (2017 data). Additionally, someone is injured in a traffic-related accident every hour.

Neighborhood Design Center has partnered with MICA’s Center for Social Design and the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Office to support design interventions to help save lives and prevent traffic-related injuries in Baltimore. The initiative, Made You Look, was conceived by MICA graduate students Quinton Batts (MASD ’19) and Vilde Ulset (MASD ’19) who investigated ways to reduce these troubling statistics through design interventions as part of their graduate

One solution they explored was artistic approaches to traffic-calming, which is defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation as “the combination of measures that reduce the negative effects of motor vehicle use, alter driver behavior, and improve conditions for non-motorized street users.” For example, horizontal murals painted in crosswalks and sidewalk bump-outs can alert drivers’ attention to pedestrians, bike-riders and other road users. Planning departments describe these interventions as Art in the Right of Way. Batts and Ulset didn’t anticipate their project would last beyond a semester, but their work quickly gained attention and traction, far outgrowing its original intent. In the years since the project began, the team has secured four years of funding from the Maryland Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office, built a network of community partners, added members to the team, and the project has turned into a career for Batts and Ulset.

The need for traffic calming measures has resonated with many communities like Johnston Square, where vehicles have been tracked going more than 80 mph in a school zone and a two-year-old was killed when struck by a vehicle in the neighborhood.

The team collaborated with NDC and ReBuild Johnston Square to work with the community in envisioning a project that best fit their needs and secure grant funding. In March, the Baltimore Department of Transportation installed large bump-outs on three intersections near Johnston Square Elementary School and community volunteers painted colorful murals on the crosswalks. The mural painting was well attended by community members and partners, including a film crew from Bloomberg Philanthropies who has also partially funded the mural. The mural was designed by volunteers from NDC’s Community Design Works program as part of a branding initiative for the Johnston Square neighborhood.

Creative crosswalks bring artistic placemaking efforts to a neighborhood, and the team collects data to show the installations do calm traffic. In one neighborhood, observers documented only 20 percent of drivers yielded to pedestrians in the crosswalk prior to installing art. After the installation, that number increased to 75 percent.

The positive impact is impressive, however, the effort to make these Art in the Right of Way projects accessible to more communities throughout Baltimore is not without its challenges. “It takes a lot of money to do these installations,” says Ulset. “Most of the time they (the communities) have to come up with the money on their own. If it’s (crosswalk) already ADA (Americas with Disabilities Act) compliant, the City is not going to go out of their way to get something new.”

The cost related to the installations, including items like paint, permits, insurance and more can be expensive. There are also many steps involved in getting to a complete design. After spending time observing possible traffic safety issues in the area, communities must work with the Department of Transportation to determine what type of design intervention works best to address their neighborhood’s needs. From painting crosswalks to installing bump-outs, there are a range of design intervention possibilities. Community listening is vital, and ensuring all voices are heard in the decision-making can be a challenging process.

The Made You Look Toolkit was created in order to ease some of the frustration for communities in trying to implement traffic calming measures in their neighborhoods. Based on the research and work done through the project, the Made You Look Toolkit is a step-by-step guide to help communities through the process of securing funding, community listening and more to create Art in the Right of Way projects in their own neighborhoods. Learn more at 

In addition to the toolkit, communities can rent all the tools they need for a crosswalk installation
from the Station North Took Library.

In the coming months, look out for a new website that will be home for the updated toolkit, case studies on local projects, resources and much more. With these tools in hand, the hope is that communities throughout Baltimore can implement these measures to create safer, stronger neighborhoods for all.

Bloomberg on an NDC program, Made You Look – Art in the Right

For more information about NDC’s Made You Look- Art in the Right Away program contact Nicole Kirby, CarVer Communications,

October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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