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Beautiful Bicycle Garden Is Putting Smiles on Newburgh Kids & Teaching Them Great Skills



Every once in awhile we receive a special story from Naomi-Hersson Ringskog and her Department of Small Interventions group. It's a bit of a play on words, because it always turns out that its a wonderful story about something that may seem small, but ends up having a wonderful effect. This is one of t hose stories, and the smiles and the focus they are showing to learn how to bicycle safely tells the whole storyl


Local elementary school repurposes parking lot with an interactive bicycle garden with a Grant-funded bicycle fleet and creative streetscape mural that helpeducate students at Horizons on the Hudson students how to bicycle safely.

On Monday, June 5, 2023 officials from the Orange County Departments of Planning and Health, along with Newburgh Enlarged City School District and the Dept of Small Interventions unveiled an interactive bicycle garden, a series of miniature streets that simulates road conditions with different traffic scenarios for Horizons-on-the-Hudson Students to learn bicycle safety in a previously unused parking lot at the Horizons-on-the-Hudson Elementary School. This is the first bicycle garden in Orange County.


As part of a public health initiative to reduce major risk factors of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases in high need communities in Orange County, representatives from the Orange County Planning and Health Departments are working through the Creating Healthy Schools and Communities Program to increase opportunities for physical activity in several high-need communities and school districts throughout the county. 30% of Newburgh's residents do not have access to a car, forcing reliance on walking, bicycling, transit, or expensive taxis. According to data from Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR), there have been 41 reported crashes involving a bicycle and 119 reported crashes involving a pedestrian resulting in personal injury in the City of Newburgh between 2019 and 2022 (note: 2022 data is preliminary.) 21.4% of the city’s residents live in poverty (census.gov) and regrettably, 45.6% of students in the district are reported as overweight or obese (2018-2019) by the New York State Department of Health Student Weight Status Category Reporting System (SWSCR). Though policy change and capital improvements are vital to provide safe and convenient access to walking and biking in the City, it is important to couple those efforts with safety and education, especially for young adults and elementary aged children. Programming of this type helps young minds view cycling as an independent and equitable form of transportation, encouraging them to cycle for empowerment and as a regular physical activity.


In 2020, while drafting the Bicycle Action Plan for City for Newburgh, which surveyed the public’s top places and routes for creating a bicycle network in the City, the idea for a safe controlled environment for children to practice the rules of the road and develop confidence to navigate signs, streets, intersections, roundabouts, and crosswalks was born. The project team worked with school officials to reimagine an underutilized parking lot near the gymnasium to design and install a bicycle garden. With the help of a local engineering firm, Creighton Manning, the scaled streetscape was designed to contain several components cyclists may encounter in the real-world: a roundabout, intersections, crosswalk, and sharp turns! This streetscape was just the base layer for local artist Ed Manner and his apprentice, Trevor Cortes-Lozado, to infuse with vibrant, engaging colors and playful features. Adjacent to the bike garden are posters, designed by local graphic designer, Hael V. Stewart-Fisher, outlining the basics of bicycle maintenance and a reminder about important rules of the road.

In 2020, the Orange County Creating Healthy Schools and Communities grant funded the purchase of 30 bicycles for the Newburgh Enlarged City School District for use at the Horizons-on-Hudson Elementary School. The bicycle fleet included bicycle racks for storage, maintenance tools and equipment, mini traffic cones, and safety gear including helmets and bicycle lights. A Walk Safe, Bike Safe Elementary School Physical Education Curriculum, developed by the New York Bicycle Coalition was also provided. Through this curriculum, students learn about traffic safety rules and their rights and responsibilities as walkers, bicycle drivers and future motor vehicle operators.


The bicycle garden project is part of an even larger effort. The CHSC team has worked closely with the City of Newburgh via its Transportation Advisory Committee and Planning & Development Office on many successful transportation initiatives including the passage of complete streets legislation to encourage safer roads and pathways in the City of Newburgh. Thank you to our elected leaders Grice and Martinez for their support in the bike fleet and other transportation efforts.


(Photo credits thanks to the Newburgh Enlarged City School District)



The Horizons-on-the-Hudson Bike Garden is reserved for HOH students. Public access may be available during scheduled events.


“Challenging and Creative play, combined with physical activity, contribute to children’s cognitive, social and emotional development. The Bicycle Garden is a safe learning and play space that will help HOH students move better and safer within the city and engage in active transportation, as well as encourage healthy behavior and allow for improved access to the amenities of their community.”

“Bicycling, and all active transportation modes are beneficial to the environment, public and individual health, employment access, and a sense of community well-being and belonging. We are thrilled to partner and support this important initiative at the Horizon on the Hudson School.”

- Jessica Ridgeway, Orange County Creating Healthy Schools and Communities Program (Senior Planner at Orange County Department of Planning)

“Using a bicycle garden is a fun, low-cost way to normalize bicycling for both kids and adults. It also catalyzes or adds momentum to have our city invest more bicycle infrastructure: from sharrows to bike racks, to a master plan for a safe bicycle network - or maybe we’ll see another bike garden pop up elsewhere in the City of Newburgh!”

– Naomi Hersson-Ringskog, AICP Dept of Small Interventions

“Newburgh is a special place that inspires me to use Art and my professional background to seek measurable change for families’ and neighbors’ lived experience - Creative Placemaking. The Bike Garden is a continuation of other large scale asphalt mural play-spaces I’ve created in and for Newburgh. Visit the Newburgh free Library for ‘KaBloom’ created on 2022 and Audrey Carey Park BLM murals created with city youth in 2020 to see others. Prior to Newburgh I worked for leading commercial property developers worldwide to create experiences to draw families to their properties. As a full time Artist and Activist in Newburgh I seek to create projects that directly impact our collective quality of life. Creative Placemaking brings vibrancy to otherwise troubled places. I’m here to help and live vibrantly.”

- Ed Manner, Artist

###


ABOUT

Dept of Small Interventions (DoSI) launches place-based projects to amplify cultural assets, galvanize collaborations, and build social infrastructure. The organic participatory approach integrates arts, culture, history into community development and planning goals. Projects are simple, resourceful and creative solutions that can ultimately lead to increased capacity and meaningful change. The energy behind DoSI is Naomi Hersson-Ringskog. Naomi has presented on the following topics : adaptive reuse, re-activating corridors, community engagement strategies, cultural tourism, historic preservation, cultural diplomacy, tactical urbanism, and creative placemaking. Informed by in-depth meetings and reiterative conversations with local residents and practitioners, Dept of Small Interventions pursues culturally-based and history-inspired projects in Newburgh, NY. The goal is to contribute to the revitalization efforts by promoting the city's assets and enhancing creative placemaking and placekeeping while building its capacity, collaborations, and participation


Every once in awhile we receive a special story from Naomi-Hersson Ringskog and her Department of Small Interventions group. It's a bit of a play on words, because it always turns out that its a wonderful story about something that may seem small, but ends up having a wonderful effect. This is one of t hose stories, and the smiles and the focus they are showing to learn how to bicycle safely tells the whole storyl


Local elementary school repurposes parking lot with an interactive bicycle garden with a Grant-funded bicycle fleet and creative streetscape mural that helpeducate students at Horizons on the Hudson students how to bicycle safely.

On Monday, June 5, 2023 officials from the Orange County Departments of Planning and Health, along with Newburgh Enlarged City School District and the Dept of Small Interventions unveiled an interactive bicycle garden, a series of miniature streets that simulates road conditions with different traffic scenarios for Horizons-on-the-Hudson Students to learn bicycle safety in a previously unused parking lot at the Horizons-on-the-Hudson Elementary School. This is the first bicycle garden in Orange County.


As part of a public health initiative to reduce major risk factors of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases in high need communities in Orange County, representatives from the Orange County Planning and Health Departments are working through the Creating Healthy Schools and Communities Program to increase opportunities for physical activity in several high-need communities and school districts throughout the county. 30% of Newburgh's residents do not have access to a car, forcing reliance on walking, bicycling, transit, or expensive taxis. According to data from Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR), there have been 41 reported crashes involving a bicycle and 119 reported crashes involving a pedestrian resulting in personal injury in the City of Newburgh between 2019 and 2022 (note: 2022 data is preliminary.) 21.4% of the city’s residents live in poverty (census.gov) and regrettably, 45.6% of students in the district are reported as overweight or obese (2018-2019) by the New York State Department of Health Student Weight Status Category Reporting System (SWSCR). Though policy change and capital improvements are vital to provide safe and convenient access to walking and biking in the City, it is important to couple those efforts with safety and education, especially for young adults and elementary aged children. Programming of this type helps young minds view cycling as an independent and equitable form of transportation, encouraging them to cycle for empowerment and as a regular physical activity.


In 2020, while drafting the Bicycle Action Plan for City for Newburgh, which surveyed the public’s top places and routes for creating a bicycle network in the City, the idea for a safe controlled environment for children to practice the rules of the road and develop confidence to navigate signs, streets, intersections, roundabouts, and crosswalks was born. The project team worked with school officials to reimagine an underutilized parking lot near the gymnasium to design and install a bicycle garden. With the help of a local engineering firm, Creighton Manning, the scaled streetscape was designed to contain several components cyclists may encounter in the real-world: a roundabout, intersections, crosswalk, and sharp turns! This streetscape was just the base layer for local artist Ed Manner and his apprentice, Trevor Cortes-Lozado, to infuse with vibrant, engaging colors and playful features. Adjacent to the bike garden are posters, designed by local graphic designer, Hael V. Stewart-Fisher, outlining the basics of bicycle maintenance and a reminder about important rules of the road.

In 2020, the Orange County Creating Healthy Schools and Communities grant funded the purchase of 30 bicycles for the Newburgh Enlarged City School District for use at the Horizons-on-Hudson Elementary School. The bicycle fleet included bicycle racks for storage, maintenance tools and equipment, mini traffic cones, and safety gear including helmets and bicycle lights. A Walk Safe, Bike Safe Elementary School Physical Education Curriculum, developed by the New York Bicycle Coalition was also provided. Through this curriculum, students learn about traffic safety rules and their rights and responsibilities as walkers, bicycle drivers and future motor vehicle operators.


The bicycle garden project is part of an even larger effort. The CHSC team has worked closely with the City of Newburgh via its Transportation Advisory Committee and Planning & Development Office on many successful transportation initiatives including the passage of complete streets legislation to encourage safer roads and pathways in the City of Newburgh. Thank you to our elected leaders Grice and Martinez for their support in the bike fleet and other transportation efforts.


Photo credits thaks to the Newburgh Enlarged City School District



The Horizons-on-the-Hudson Bike Garden is reserved for HOH students. Public access may be available during scheduled events.


“Challenging and Creative play, combined with physical activity, contribute to children’s cognitive, social and emotional development. The Bicycle Garden is a safe learning and play space that will help HOH students move better and safer within the city and engage in active transportation, as well as encourage healthy behavior and allow for improved access to the amenities of their community.”

“Bicycling, and all active transportation modes are beneficial to the environment, public and individual health, employment access, and a sense of community well-being and belonging. We are thrilled to partner and support this important initiative at the Horizon on the Hudson School.”

- Jessica Ridgeway, Orange County Creating Healthy Schools and Communities Program (Senior Planner at Orange County Department of Planning)

“Using a bicycle garden is a fun, low-cost way to normalize bicycling for both kids and adults. It also catalyzes or adds momentum to have our city invest more bicycle infrastructure: from sharrows to bike racks, to a master plan for a safe bicycle network - or maybe we’ll see another bike garden pop up elsewhere in the City of Newburgh!”

– Naomi Hersson-Ringskog, AICP Dept of Small Interventions

“Newburgh is a special place that inspires me to use Art and my professional background to seek measurable change for families’ and neighbors’ lived experience - Creative Placemaking. The Bike Garden is a continuation of other large scale asphalt mural play-spaces I’ve created in and for Newburgh. Visit the Newburgh free Library for ‘KaBloom’ created on 2022 and Audrey Carey Park BLM murals created with city youth in 2020 to see others. Prior to Newburgh I worked for leading commercial property developers worldwide to create experiences to draw families to their properties. As a full time Artist and Activist in Newburgh I seek to create projects that directly impact our collective quality of life. Creative Placemaking brings vibrancy to otherwise troubled places. I’m here to help and live vibrantly.”

- Ed Manner, Artist


ABOUT

Dept of Small Interventions (DoSI) launches place-based projects to amplify cultural assets, galvanize collaborations, and build social infrastructure. The organic participatory approach integrates arts, culture, history into community development and planning goals. Projects are simple, resourceful and creative solutions that can ultimately lead to increased capacity and meaningful change. The energy behind DoSI is Naomi Hersson-Ringskog. Naomi has presented on the following topics : adaptive reuse, re-activating corridors, community engagement strategies, cultural tourism, historic preservation, cultural diplomacy, tactical urbanism, and creative placemaking. Informed by in-depth meetings and reiterative conversations with local residents and practitioners, Dept of Small Interventions pursues culturally-based and history-inspired projects in Newburgh, NY. The goal is to contribute to the revitalization efforts by promoting the city's assets and enhancing creative placemaking and placekeeping while building its capacity, collaborations, and participation.






















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