Imagine art work on the pavement’s asphalt! That’s what the Asphalt Art Initiative is doing, it is part of Bloomberg Philanthropies and is giving 19 European cities grants to create eye catching murals at crosswalks and near sidewalks. The idea is also to slow down traffic and accommodate pedestrians’ safety. Recent such initiatives have shown that when combined with other things called calming traffic devices, like bollards and modified curbs, that something like art on the pavement can enhance pedestrian safety. Speed at a crash prone crossroads in Kansas City was reduced by 45%. In Baltimore, the colored curbs initiated by the project, 41% of cars at a crossroads were encouraged to give pedestrians the right of way. Cities in Kosovo, Italy and Belgium which all have better pedestrian spaces will receive one of the grants and in Istanbul and Varna, Bulgaria, murals will be painted at crosswalks and crossroads.
Janette Sadik-Kahn a commissioner with the New York City Department of Transportation and the current principal for transportation at Bloomberg Associates says that “Projects like this not only connect people, but make streets safer, and we encourage cities everywhere to paint their own transportation masterpieces.” I’m for that. I hope you are too.