I Street Bridge Lantern Festival
Our team is very effective at reimagining the traditional in-person community workshop. We create different creative approaches to engage larger, more diverse community members. A recent example of this is the community workshop we developed for the City of West Sacramento’s I Street Deck Feasibility Study. As part of the feasibility study the City hired AIM to provide one community workshop. Instead of the traditional open house setting with informational boards and engagement exercises, AIM hosted a Lantern Festival and Parade on the top deck of the I Street bridge.
On Saturday, March 23 more than 3,000 community members joined us for a lantern festival and walk across the I Street Bridge. The event demonstrated how once the bridge is no longer a structure for motor vehicle conveyance, it can be transformed into a structure that conveys not only pedestrians and cyclists, but can build community by getting people out of cars and enjoying a wonderful public space on the Sacramento River. Cultural art displays by Chinese artist Zhi Lin were hung along the bridge’s rails, and included watercolor sketches of the landscape along the route of the first transcontinental railroad. Additional historical displays were also hung along the rails, and included historical photographs of and information about the thousands of Chinese laborers who helped construct the transcontinental railroad.
The lantern festival provided a way for people to celebrate the Chinese community’s contributions to the Transcontinental Railroad and discuss how to create a bicycle and pedestrian bridge and active public space with the project team. At two key locations (start and terminus of the lantern walk) exhibits were displayed which illustrated a variety of public space amenities and multi-modal options on the bridge. Several hundred community members provided their input about how they envision using the bridge in the future, opportunities to create placemaking, bridge lighting, shared spaces on the bridge for those walking and biking, bridge approach amenities, and ramp and stair options.
As one community member stated, “A lantern festival in the evening to showcase the bike/ped options in the region is so beautiful, especially over the water… we have the energy of all these people who are happy to be outside on a cold night to participate and give their opinion.”