Speeding vehicles, excessive traffic, and frustrated commuters have become pressing safety issues in Tampa’s residential areas. Many engineering efforts to build better roadways and implement traffic treatments are underway, however this work takes time. Quick road fixes that only require a little paint can often be implemented to improve safety in the interim–the “Paint Saves Lives” philosophy of Hillsborough County MPO’s Vision Zero campaign–but what if paint could save lives in a way that is both practical and pretty?
The City of St. Petersburg has had the intersection of Central Avenue and 5th Street painted since the middle of last year. The project, titled “Common Ground” is part of SHINE On St. Pete, a program intended to illuminate the power of art in public spaces by revitalizing areas, inspiring dialogue and uniting our community—while cultivating new standards of artistic excellence and reflecting St. Petersburg’s creative and vibrant spirit.
Innovations in traffic safety vary from city to city, often times with West Coast cities like Seattle and Portland leading the way with experimental projects. These cities inspired the Paint the Intersection Draft Policy and Pilot Program in Tampa Bay, says William Porth, Traffic Studies and Safety Coordinator for the City of Tampa. “Turning intersections into public art gets people involved with their communities, and it looks good,” says Porth. “But it is up to the community to organize the project and submit it if the pilot program is going to be successful like it has been out west. We want to see what works locally.”
Basic steps to painting an intersection in your Tampa community include talking to neighbors to spread the word, selecting an intersection and getting it approved for painting (contact the Transportation and Stormwater Services Department at 813-274-8333), forming a project team, designing the intersection, and fundraising for necessary supplies. The results of this kind of community-wide effort can improve the safety and livability of your neighborhood, and help you connect with your neighbors as you accomplish something together.
Interested in painting an intersection in your neighborhood? Share this story and start organizing today!