Walk Leader: Mejor Santa Tere and Femibici
Text by: Mariel Rivera
Photographs by: Christian Scott Martone
This walk focused on local community building initiatives, some coordinated by the Mejor Santa Tere project.
We visited a gallery-café hosting an exhibit of a participatory design, made by local kids, for the only park in the ‘hood, the Parque Clemente Orozco; we entered a house that transforms into a Community Music School once a week; we crossed through the market, capturing the gaze of pretty much everyone; we heard – under a tree in front of the local church – about the neighbourhood’s annual cultural festival, Inyectando Cultura; we continued to the Casa Ciclista, the headquarters of a bicycle advocacy group and also the home of the city’s only bike co-op, La Bici Cueva; we finally went to the Parque Clemente Orozco to visit the community murals painted by kids and teenagers, as well as the community gardens we’ve created since November 2012.
The event ended with a “paint-it-yourself” action at a crosswalk that connects the park with the local clinic. As we covered our shoes with paint and walked back and forth over the pedestrian crossing, we made the space safer and satirized the municipality of Guadalajara, which has ignored pedestrian rights for decades.
We gave all attendees a set of questions, based on the methodology of the Women’s Safety Audit walk (WSA), about which aspects of the street made them feel unsafe and which places were friendlier. Their answers helped us identify some unsafe spots on Santa Tere. Femibici, a collective of women cyclists in Guadalajara, who were one of the groups organizing this year Jane’s Walk, used the information to design a bike ride with the theme of women’s safety in cities. Walk participants were also given a bunch of citizen-made tickets (Multa Ciudadana) to put on illegally parked cars that block crossings, sidewalks and pedestrian spaces.
Did we mention we brought a wheelchair to the walk? Participants took turns with it all along the route, so that each could experience the challenges our sidewalks present to wheelchair users. There was a moment of tension during the walk when a car was blocking a handicap ramp and the driver wasn’t willing to move; he changed his mind when the girl using the wheelchair handed him a citizen ticket. It was a learning experience for everyone.