Art Making Roads Beautiful and Safe In Louisville, KY

A Bloomberg Philanthropies’ study has inspired the city of Louisville, KY to launch a pilot project inviting local artists to help make city intersections safer. The Bloomberg study found that streets with asphalt art saw 17% fewer total crashes and 50% fewer bike and pedestrian crashes. The Louisville Metro’s Community Crosswalks program plans to create colorful pedestrian crossings that both showcase the city’s art and cultural scene and improve safety conditions for residents.  

“Louisville recently implemented its vision zero plan, so we’re really working toward zero pedestrian deaths and incidents in the city,” Lou Lepping, the Urban Planner at the Office of Advanced Planning, said. “And this is really a step forward towards that.”

Louisville’s Office of Advanced Planning and Office of Arts & Creative Industries are inviting artists to submit proposals for crosswalk designs to be installed at four major intersections in the downtown area. The art is expected to bring instant awareness to the crosswalk and should enhance the visual quality of the streetscape. Winning designs will each receive a total of US $8,000.

“I’m always excited to see things beyond what people see as the normal or quintessential definition of public art,” Jessica Kincaid, Louisville’s Public Art Administrator, said. “This is a great opportunity to broaden what that definition means for the city.”

The designs will be reviewed by Louisville Metro Public Works, the Office of Advanced Planning, the Commission on Public Arts, and Louisville Downtown Partnership. They will be evaluated on: creativity and design; demonstrated skill;safety and visibility; and equity.

“This is an exciting opportunity to incorporate public art into our everyday lives and bolster safety for pedestrians,” said Louisville Mayor Craig Greenber. “The next phase of this program will offer neighborhood associations, community organizations and local businesses a chance to support Louisville’s creative communities and neighborhoods.”