At CSB, we envision a Bellevue where our city streets aren’t just drab spaces for traffic to flow and cars to hurry about. Because streets are a part of our city’s public space, we can choose to incorporate artistic elements that reflect the character of our communities while designing infrastructure that’s safe for all road users, no matter how they’re getting around. Recently, several North American cities have decided to let communities plan, design, and paint their own neighborhood crosswalks and larger artistic plazas. These gorgeous works serve as ways for residents to directly alter their neighborhoods for the better. Because these projects are often bright, noticeable, and colorful, they serve as natural traffic calming – encouraging drivers to reduce their speed and be more aware of their surroundings. And best of all, designing and painting these spaces serves as an excellent community-building activity and gives residents an opportunity to feel invested in their neighborhood.
Through awareness campaigns, direct engagement with interested communities, and meetings with transportation staff, we hope to accomplish the following goals:
- Encourage Bellevue to approve the use of artistic crosswalks and plazas as a valuable tool in neighborhood beautification and traffic calming.
- Allow artistic roadway design projects to be funded through the city’s Neighborhood Match Program.
- In later budget cycles, enumerate a funding source explicitly for such projects and engage community leaders to award funds based on interest and equity considerations.
We hope that in the near future, residents can take walks through their neighborhoods and see the color, design, and ideas that they helped bring to life – that they can feel proud of where they live and how they’ve contributed to making it better.