JACOBS: There’s no shortage of ways for cities to highlight their identity and encourage pedestrians to get out and walk around. But one of the more popular options involves colorfully painted Creative Crosswalks that serve as both art and enhanced safety tools. The idea, pioneered in San Francisco’s gay Castro neighborhood, is gaining ground in communities of all sizes. NPR’s Brett Dahlberg reports. The colorful designs are meant to draw attention from drivers and give pedestrians more visual cues that it’s safe to cross. The idea is that when the eye-catching paint is used at intersections where there’s a high volume of traffic, it can help drivers slow down and pay more attention.
Street Art Meets Safety: The Beauty of Creative Crosswalks
In addition to the paint, many of these creative crosswalks incorporate other elements, such as metal or plastic stencils for the painting process and lights or reflective materials to help make the crossings more visible at night. The design options are endless, but city leaders have to be careful because some of the more over-the-top ones can cause confusion with official road signs and could pose a danger to pedestrians.
Despite the potential dangers, cities are continuing to paint their streets in brightly colored ways at intersections, ignoring the Federal Highway Administration, which has regularly scolded them for it. And they’re doing it in a time when pedestrian fatalities are at an all-time high, and people walking are disproportionately killed by vehicles. (Read our full piece on this growing trend here).) CADA has been helping cities get the green light for their creative crosswalks by preparing case studies of successful examples.