Art for Safety's Sake

A friend who lives in St. Paul just sent me this link to a new project in their city. In order to calm traffic on residential streets (like mine), the city has employed bump outs, traffic circles and speed bumps. Now they're trying something new - Art Signs. The same size as traffic signs that say things like "Slow Children" (and wouldn't I like one of those on my street these days).

The object is to get drivers to slow down to look at the new unusual sign and then to subtly convey a message of traffic calming. The Teddy Bear is a pretty obvious choice as is the photo of children, but I personally like the lotus blossom with the labyrinth.





The object is to get drivers to slow down to look at the new unusual sign

that's an interesting idea, but when i'm on those roads i'd prefer drivers keep their eyes and attention on the road, and other road users. it seems to me that while they ponder new unusual sights, few drivers slow down.

As you turn on my street from a main drag, there's a short interval (with a speed limit sign I think) before you come to the first street where anyone would be biking and walking - an unusual sign right at that corner might remind a driver - oh yeah, I've turned off a fast road on to a slow one.

I don't like the idea of different kinds of signs.  The fewer non-standard signs drivers have to look at the better.  That's one reason (the other reason is ugliness) that I don't like billboards.  They just distract the driver.

 I don't think other measures are necessary anyway.  Speed bumps work great, don't they?  If you want drivers to slow down then put in speed bumps and if you want them to slow down more them put in more speed bumps.

Is there any thing stopping the a group of neighbors from getting together to create these signs and hosting them in their own yards? As long as it's on private propoerty and not in violation of the signs ordinance, I don't see why the government would need to be involved.

I detest speedbumps. While this might serve to distract drivers a bit, it would certainly add more to the neighborhood quality of life.

If you follow the links to the sign's designers, there is an entire site dedicated to DIY traffic calming. The more points of interest on a street, the slower cars will go when travelling that street. Art in yards, but also people using their front yards (benches, gardening, tables, eating, visiting) and walking or playing in the street. There's a basketball hoop on our street and the neighbors play occassionally.It made me think of ways we might increase our own visual/physical  presence.

Speedbumps are much more expensive than signs, and it practically takes an act of god to get them installed in petitioning neighborhoods.  Then, ironically, there's a bunch of ugly signage on either side, plus the stripes.  Yuck.  What a way to trash up an otherwise pretty street.

I could go with truly artistic signs on private property.  If you want to decorate your yard or your neighborhood that way,  fine.  But speeders don't pay any attention at all to cautionary signs no matter where they are or what they look like.  We see them run stop signs on our side streets without even slowing down.  Speeding is a real problem -- much more than a nuisance. 

I live on a blind curve (Pritchard Avenue Extension) which is on a very steep hill.  A speed Hump was recently placed at the top of the hill there but drivers still frequently fly up and down the hill with enough speed to cause squealing tires (car in a skid) and it is very unsafe to cross on foot unless you run. (The sidewalk is on the opposite side from 2 University Gardens parking lots) What is the process for requesting a speed hump in the middle of the hill? I look at that street that runs from Franklin street to the next street over (I forget the name but it comes out of the Vespa parking lot) as an example.  It is a straight road and not nearly as steep as Pritchard Ave Ext and it's got 2 speed humps.  It also doesn't have the dozens of children living on it that my street does.  I think it would be very sensible and effective to place another speed hump or 2 along Pritchard Avenue Extension.
You can request a speed bump by submitting a petition to Town Council (either in person or in writing). The initial petition should have signatures from >50% of your neighbors along that portion of the street. The Council will ask the Town Traffic Engineer to determine if a speed bump is warranted and feasible and if he determines that to be the case then an informational meeting will be held to verify that >50% of your neighbors still want the speed bump. If the answer remains yes then the Town Manager will make a recommendation to the Council.

I detest speed bumps too, when I'm driving that is.  And that is exactly why they're so effective.  Has anyone ever seen a speed bump where drivers that know it's there speed over it?  I doubt it, and even if so then an easy remedy is to just make the speed bump bigger.

 Signs on private property saying "slow down," or saying anything else, are essentially billboards.  People either don't look at them or else if they do look at them then they should be looking at the road and road signs instead.

 If you can't get a critical mass of people that live near a proposed speed bump to agree that a speed bump should be there then unfortunately for you the people in your neighborhood simply don't think a speed bump is necessary.

 As far as meetings to see what percentage of the people want a speed bump, since I live in an area where a speed bump might be necessary and since it's also a place with some rentals I can't help but wonder, who gets the vote as to whether there is a speed bump, the tenants or the owners.


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