In cities of all sizes, painted Creative Crosswalks serve as pedestrian safety tools that lead people to safe destinations and alert drivers to pay special attention. The instantly recognizable white stripes are the standard across most of the United States, but some communities are going colorful. From rainbows in San Francisco to a series of intricate patterns in Long Beach, the idea of eye-catching crosswalks that are both art and enhanced safety features is gaining traction.
The Knight Creative Community Partnership worked with local artists, students and families to add artistic designs to three schools in the Sabal Palm neighborhood as part of its “crosswalks to classrooms” initiative. The project was motivated by research from Bloomberg philanthropies that shows visually appealing art creates a 50 percent decrease in the rate of crashes involving pedestrians.
Rainbow Crossings: A Visual Tribute to the LGBTQ+ Movement’s History and Progress
Using a grant from CADA, Downtown Partnership is working with City Departments and community partners to explore the possibilities for permanent creative crosswalks. The first will be a rainbow design on Colorado Avenue and Tejon Street, one of the intersections on the Pride parade route in downtown Colorado Springs.
When executed with care and in alignment with federal safety standards, creative crosswalks can enliven a neighborhood while sending the message that roads are not just for cars, but for everyone. Pairing crosswalks with other urban mobility improvements like reduced speed limits, new bike lanes and more outdoor work and dining space can amplify the impact. This approach to street culture can help reshape perceptions of cities as “car-centric” and build support for a more balanced transportation system.