If there’s one freebie that I’ve gleaned from watching late-night Tony Robbins infomercials, it’s that you can make changes simply but turning your attention to a problem. I guess that’s what I was thinking when I turned my attention to the blight on Nave Drive about a month ago.
I think that Robbins theory works best if it’s backed up with action steps, so in addition to writing the , I followed up with:
- One e-mail conversation with the city's public works director
- Two online requests to Caltrans for sound wall improvements
- One voice mail message to a property owner about high weeds
- One e-mail to the wrong organization about the donation box cleanup
- One e-mail to Ignacio Rotary asking for cleanup crew help
- One e-mail to the right organization about the donation box cleanup
- One meeting with a community leader to discuss strategy
- Gathered names from people who said they were willing to help
- A personal contact with a service organization
There were 7 out of 9 positive results. Connections were made. Changes happened that made me optimistic that the street is now on everyone’s radar.
High weeds were cut down all along Nave Drive and in the medians. Weed killer was sprayed along the soundwall. It was not exactly was I was expecting — I was hoping for an old-fashioned hand-weeding team, so the litter cleanup crew that I was trying to recruit was put on hold.
Caltrans also trimmed overhanging trees and shrubs on the highway side of the frontage road.
The city’s crews braved the only hot days we had this summer and weed-whipped around the bus stops, then started tackling the weeds along the sidewalk on the way up to Ignacio Boulevard. It was something I hadn’t thought of asking for until Phase 2 of the project.
The organization that had a donation drop-off box on Nave was asked to clean around its site. It just didn’t happen. Alternative locations were suggested, but in the end I believe their permission was withdrawn to locate the box on the frontage road.
Well, Nave Drive still doesn’t look like a comparable frontage road in tony Walnut Creek, and I've decided to try to stop comparing it to the lovely walking path on Ignacio Boulevard. But if you don't look too closely at the litter, you can see that Nave Drive is improving.
I started thinking that maybe Phase 1 was too easy and so Phase 2 of the “Nave Drive Blight Project” is a test. My hypothesis: Does a bigger request require a bigger effort?
Should I ask the Shell gas station to put landscaping in their weedy planter beds to match the beautifully maintained across the street? How do we get more ivy planted along the bare sections of the sound wall? Are sidewalks in front of the school too much to hope for?
I'm open to advice on the next steps.