Washington MO Gives Initial OK for Crosswalk Art | emissourian.com

Headlines are quick hits from media outlets from Missouri and around the world. Follow the headline link for the full story. The source of this headline says:

Decorative crosswalks might be coming to Downtown Washington.

The Washington Traffic Commission voiced initial support for a plan to paint and decorate crosswalks. At Friday’s meeting, the commission said it would need to check into the issue to see if there was anything that would prohibit the art. . . .

The request for crosswalk art came from Downtown Washington Inc. Executive Director Bridgette Kelch. She said her group and the Arts Council of Washington have been brainstorming ideas on how to “bring a little spice” into Downtown using art.

Kelch said other communities across the county have turned crosswalks into art. For example, Kelch showed a picture of one crosswalk that took the normal thick white lines and transformed them into a fork, knife and spoon to denote a dining district.

MoBikeFed comment: As the article notes, St. Louis City recently prohibited decorative crosswalks over concerns that area, to put it mildly, trumped up and overwrought.

Human touches like decorative crosswalks help create community ownership of streets and intersections--and that is one of the post powerful factors in making them safer.

And the decorating can be done in a way that has no effect on technical considerations about visibility of crosswalks to drivers.

StreetsBlog has a good summary of the issue, responding to St Louis city's Jamie Wilson, who made the decision to ban the decorative crosswalks in St. Louis:

Taking a close look at the memo Wilson described, FHWA doesn’t say colorful crosswalks are off limits. It does however warn that they can “reduce” the visual “contrast” between the white crosswalk lines and the street, unless painted with “subdued colors.”

Conor Semler, a planning consultant with the Boston-based firm Kittelson & Associates, said most cities he works with have interpreted the FHWA memo much differently. Cities like Baltimore — famous for its eye-catching zipper crosswalk — and Seattle have basically determined “as long as the white transverse lines are clear, you can do almost anything inside that,” he said.

Semler says there’s no research that indicates painted crosswalks are more or less safe then regular crosswalks.

See: http://usa.streetsblog.org/2016/02/10/get-real-colorful-crosswalks-arent...

Share this: