4 min read

Want to get involved? Here's how.

Open Tallahassee is an up-and-coming digital publication. Get involved to help us build up this venture!
Want to get involved? Here's how.
Attendants at the inaugural Open Tallahassee interest meeting, held at the Leroy Collins library on April 25, 2023 in Tallahassee, Florida.


Open Tallahassee (opentlh) is an up-and-coming digital publication, committed to sharing interactive stories about culture, life, and politics in Tallahassee.

Goals by the end of the Summer
  1. Polish the website, turning it into a mix between Pudding.cool and the Gothamist.
  2. Turn current project prototypes into actual products. List of projects are below.
  3. Incorporate as an organization (either as a co-op, business, or non-profit).
  4. Raise $5,000 (through events & memberships) to hire interns for the Fall semester to write stories and maintain the website and its products.

Help us accomplish these goals by signing up here!

What is Open Tallahassee?

opentlh started over two years ago with co-founders Will Hanley and Shelby Green. Originally, they worked together on a project to determine the traffic crash hotspots on Thomasville Road.

After a few months, they developed a preliminary map:

A map of non-fatal and fatal traffic crashes in Tallahassee. 

During that process, the co-founders realized this effort should involve the community, leading to the idea of an open outlet, where neighbors can connect and share with each other.

Vision Zero

Vision Zero is a road traffic safety project that aims to arrange data in a way that connects with people, through visual and interactive storytelling, to achieve a roadway system with zero fatalities or serious injuries.

Goal: openly document traffic crashes, and their impact, in Tallahassee and share this information with the public.

Status: The current prototype is 50% complete. This project needs all types of help, so please sign up if you're interested! We need more than just programmers.

How to help: Fill out this Google Form and select 'Vision Zero' for projects.

Our next goal for the Vision Zero prototype.

Vision Zero discussion topics

  • Traffic crash data sources

Our current data source is the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. We paid $60 to get a CD of traffic crashes within the past five years. If possible, it would be great to find another source that doesn't charge for this information and is in a more accessible format.

  • Missing/incomplete data

Roughly 60% of the incidents have a latitude and longitude, or an address. For the ones missing geolocation, we would have to manually and/or programatically fill that in.

  • Potential project partners

Initially, neighborhood associations, and then other groups as we build capacity and support. We could work neighborhood associations to supply traffic crash data from us to help them advocate for pedestrian crosswalks and other safe infrastructure in their neighborhoods. Down the line, when we have more capacity and support, it would be great to partner with community advocates, bike/ped. organizations, and potentially even the Tallahassee Police Department to host activities and events that raise awarenss and increase civic engagement, like walking audits, infrastructure/community surveying, and tactical crosswalks and road closures.

  • Using social media to build support

There's already a lot of support for safe infrastructure, but there's such a big disconnect between the people who want these things and the people who show up at Commission meetings where these changes are taking place. Raising public awareness has to a top priority.

Community Calendar

The Community Calendar intends to be an event aggregator, making it easier for locals, visitors, and newcomers to find events happening in our community. We hope this calendar helps residents feel more welcomed, connected, and avoid that feeling of missing out on something fun that happened!

Goal: create a calendar full of sourced and user-submitted local events.

Status: The current prototype is a Google Calendar. We'd like to turn it into a filterable calendar that lives on the website. This project needs all types of help, so please sign up if you're interested! We need more than just programmers.

How to help: Fill out this Google Form and select 'Community Calendar' for projects.

Next goal for the Community Calendar prototype.

Community Calendar discussion topics

  • Event sources

Possible sources: COCA, FAMU, FSU, Reddit, Visit Tallahassee, etc.

  • Event submission guidelines

Later down the line, we'll have to discuss guidelines on which events are acceptable and not acceptable, and if there should be a separate calendar for political/campaign-related events.

Open Records

Navigating the City and figuring out what they're up to is hard, especially if you're not politically engaged. We want to make that process easier by:

  • publishing transcripts and abbreviated notes of City Commission meetings
  • keeping track of the Commission's votes on key items
  • creating a weekly local news round-up

Goal: keep residents informed on the activities of the City Commission

Status: We developed a program to transform meeting audio into transcripts, so the hard part is handled! Now, this project needs writers to turn the transcripts into abbreviated notes, along with people to enter data.

How to help: Fill out this Google Form and select 'Open Records' for projects.

Open Records discussion topics

  • Article idea: explaining vote gridlock and political dynamics of the City Commission
  • This project could spin-off into political profiles, where under each Commissioner we list their key votes, campaign contributions, major accomplishments while in office, and their contact information. Aside: this is a demo of a campaign finance project we did on Mayor John Dailey.

The easiest way to get involved is by filling out the interest form! And subscribing! We'll host another interest meeting in the coming weeks.