"DIY speed bumps: Traffic control for neighborhoods
Alexandria Abramian Mott. July 6, 2012 | 8:09 am
Take note, drivers who treat pretty much any stretch of asphalt as a highway despite the kids, the pets or the speed limits: Throughout neighborhoods far and wide, fed-up residents are reclaiming their streets, or at least trying to. It’s something of a global obsession, actually, and the solutions go far beyond the much derided speed hump, which some traffic experts say actually encourages bursts of speeding between the braking.
In West Vancouver, Canada, traffic safety groups painted holograms on the ground so that as cars approached, a child appeared to rise from the ground. (Never mind that detractors have said the holograms could cause cars to swerve and hit something real.)
In London, artist Steven Wheen converts potholes into miniature versions of English gardens. The idea: guerrilla landscaping as traffic-calming tool.
Here in Southern California, some other strategies are gaining traction:
Dava Waite lives on a relatively quiet dead-end street in Sherman Oaks, so when cars peel up and down, she’s pretty sure that they’re residents. “It makes me cringe,” Waite said. “We have people, babies and dogs hiking that street all day long, and I never understood how someone could go that fast without thinking about the safety of their own neighborhood.” So last year Waite hung signs that had messages such as, “Slow down. You’re almost home!”
The result: “The signs have helped a little, and other neighbors have loved having them,” Waite said. Now she wants to hang a banner that screams: “No squirrel should die on this street! Please slow down!”
Joe Linton, artist and organizer for the L.A. walking and biking event CicLAvia, has lived by the busy intersection at Koreatown’s Eco Village apartment building for 16 years. He rallied neighbors to paint an enormous road mural in 2005. After the road was repaved in 2009, Linton and about 100 others took to the street again, repainting the brightly colored, Olympic-pool sized creation. Linton, pictured here, said he asked City Council members for support but was denied a permit. He moved forward anyway.
The result: “I think it really works to slow cars down,” Linden said of the mural at the T intersection of Bimini Place and White House Place. He said the artwork helps to take drivers out of their typical “just-have-to-get-to-their-destination” frame of mind and makes them realize that “streets are public spaces where people can really interact. This was a way of reclaiming some of that space back for people who aren’t in cars.” The paint faded over time, Linden said, so “we refreshed it and added new parts last March.”
Via: LA Times
Photo: Joe Linton and Eco Village mural by Arkasha Stevens / Los Angeles Times