Just months after the successful launch of her combination rainwater-catching-bus-shelter and native-plant-garden project, Texan Melissa Robledo is back for the second round of Trick Out My Trip, and she’s taking her idea to even greater heights.
Let’s rewind a few months to look at how this City of Austin employee took a simple founding premise and made it a reality. “Water is a major, major concern here,” Melissa explained to us back in April. “Water quality, watering restrictions, keeping water. That’s a big deal.” Another big deal is the fact that many Texas commuters must endure extreme weather—like soaring temperatures and dousing thunderstorms—while waiting for a ride from public transit. To address both of these concerns, Melissa and her team brainstormed an East Austin pedestrian plaza that would feature a participatory public garden irrigated by an attractive rainwater-capturing shade shelter. Transit riders could take refuge from sun and storms, enjoy some greenery, and even help out by weeding the plants if they liked—all while just waiting for the bus! “We’re trying to really change the mindset of what these public transportation places can be,” said Melissa, “and how you can be innovative with architecture beyond just the typical: shelter, bench, trash can.”
Fast forward to now, when Melissa’s first fully-funded ioby campaign raised over $1,600 to gather community input on the design and buy some starter plants. This summer, her Mi Jardin 100 for $100 project is seeking to raise over $40,000 more to design and build the rain-catching shade shelter, organize community outreach to generate interest and buzz, and help maintain the garden.
A project on this financial scale might seem daunting, but Melissa’s experience serves as a reminder that anyone with a good idea, some basic training, and a can-do attitude can make great changes happen in their neighborhood. “This is just a very personal project for me, because it’s where I live, it’s where I work,” she said.
All of this year’s Trick Out My Trip projects are ambitious, innovative, and exciting. But most importantly, they are replicable. If you have a bright idea to bring rider-led change to your neighborhood, we hope that Mi Jardin and the other great transit projects our leaders are working on will motivate you to take that first step. You can visit ioby.org/trip to learn more about this year’s Trick Out My Trip campaign, volunteer to help with a project in your area, or chip in a few dollars for the cause—this week only, we’re matching the first $100 of every donation made, until the cash runs out!