Advertising agency PB&J
and Keep Cincinnati Beautiful
have teamed up to help improve one of Cincinnati’s most important asset: its sidewalks. The Sidewalk Project
aims to keep the sidewalks cleared in the winter, as well as use them for community events.
Last year, PB&J CEO Micah Paldino was walking from his home to work, a total of two blocks, and he noticed that because the sidewalks weren’t properly cleared, pedestrians were actually walking in the street.
“It was a little bit backward to me,” he says. “Our city is becoming more pedestrian-friendly, but we can’t even walk on the sidewalk in the winter.”
Paldino says that the city is a brand, which aims to give people positive experiences 365 days a year. Winter needs to be addressed, not ignored.
According to an old city law, businesses need to clear their sidewalk within four hours of accumulation. But the law has many loopholes, and no one is quite sure how to interpret it. PB&J is working with law firm Graydon Head & Ritchey to figure out how to create positive conversations within the community about the law.
“The sidewalks aren’t being cleared because people have this perception that they will get sued if someone gets hurt,” Paldino says. “Changing the law isn’t feasible, but we want to work with the city and the community to stay within the law and make walking easier.”
The details are still being worked out, but PB&J hopes to have crews out clearing the sidewalks of ice and snow buildup. The plan is to launch The Sidewalk Project this winter in Over-the-Rhine
, and if all goes accordingly, expand to other areas of the city.
In the spring, The Sidewalk Project will roll out a park-let initiative, which is a semi-temporary patio that is set up in front of a business. It takes up the metered parking spots on the street, but still allows traffic to pass. A railing is set up, benches erected, and flowerpots or other decorations are added to give new dimension to a space.
There are also plans to do public awareness initiatives like street cleaning, sidewalk washing, crime awareness, gum pickup, cigarette butt pickup and trash pickup on the weekends—in OTR and downtown, trash pickup isn’t available on the weekends.
“The opportunities are endless,” Paldino says. “Any action that happens on the sidewalk can help facilitate conversation and enact positive change.”
Because this winter is supposed to be worse than last year, PB&J hopes to raise $25,000 to get The Sidewalk Project going. To donate, visit Keep Cincinnati Beautiful's website