- Louisville, Kentucky, will install asphalt art at four of the city’s major downtown intersections in April, aiming to improve pedestrian safety.
- Through the Community Crosswalks pilot project, local artists will install vibrant crosswalks showcasing Louisville’s arts and culture. Following an assessment of the pilot, the program will open to community groups and businesses “that wish to brighten up their neighborhoods and create safe, walkable spaces,” a city press release stated.
- “This is an exciting opportunity to incorporate public art into our everyday lives and bolster safety for pedestrians,” said Mayor Craig Greenberg in a statement.
Louisville joins a growing number of cities that are turning to asphalt art to improve traffic safety. Baltimore; Billings, Montana; Starkville, Mississippi; and Fairbanks, Alaska, are among the cities that launched asphalt art projects with costs ranging from about $23,000 to $85,000 through Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Asphalt Art Initiative grant program last year. More than two dozen cities have launched projects through the program since 2019, intending to improve street safety, revitalize public spaces and engage residents.
Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Asphalt Art Safety Study, released last year, inspired Louisville’s project, the press release stated. The study showed that intersections with art installations saw a 50% drop in crashes involving pedestrians or cyclists and a 37% drop in crashes leading to injuries. The report’s authors attributed the decreases to safer driving practices, finding a 27% increase in the rate of drivers yielding to pedestrians who had the right-of-way and a 25% reduction in potentially dangerous conflicts between drivers and pedestrians.
Many cities have adopted tactical urbanism methods, such as public art, to address pedestrian safety. Tactical urbanism involves short-term, low-cost infrastructure projects that can inform long-term or large-scale changes. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data released last month found that traffic deaths decreased slightly during the first nine months of 2022 compared with 2021, but pedestrian traffic fatalities increased 2%, and cyclist fatalities increased 8%.