Can Painting the Pavement Make Streets Safer?

Brooklyn Kids Paint Their Street
Sometimes sustainability is not about solar panels, hybrid cars or wind turbines. Sometimes it's as simple as a pot of paint and a bunch of kids - at least that's the theory behind the latest project from Livable Streets Education. The organization teamed up with Community Roots Charter School and, with the blessing of the NYC Dept of Transport, organized a community gathering to paint a mural on the street outside the school. But how does this make the street more sustainable?Besides the fact that it looks like a whole lot of fun, the idea behind the initiative is to provide a tangible, visible and undeniably colorful reminder to motorists that this is a school zone and there are kids crossing. It's one thing to ignore the traditional school zone street signs, but quite another to drive on regardless as you see beautiful murals painted by tiny little hands. There's echoes of the "bike contrail" here, or even the Dutch town that removed all traffic signals. The more we can move beyond standard, authoritarian signs and actually re-imagine our environment to communicate the world as we want it to be, the more chance we have of changing the traditional power structure of the car vs people (in)balance.

It's also just one more opportunity to give kids control over their urban environment - showing that all it takes is a little creativity and co-operation to turn a gray screetscape into a colorful canvas. Thanks again to our friends at StreetFilms for documenting it.

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