With a newly painted crosswalk, the Oliver Community League (OCL) hopes the colourful artwork will get drivers to pay more attention to pedestrians crossing one of the less safe roads in the neighbourhood.
Volunteers from the OCL took their paintbrushes to the pavement on October 16, decorating the crossing at 103 Avenue and 111 Street with paintings of strawberries, peas and carrots.
Sydney Gross, a member of the community league’s recreACTION committee, said painting the crosswalk can help increase the intersection’s visibility, and can potentially make drivers slow down. She also came up with the harvest-themed design.
“We chose the theme of harvest because we were painting this
in the harvest season,” she said. “The design was inspired by the farmers’ markets near our neighbourhood as well as a celebration of how beautiful this autumn has been in Edmonton.”
Daniel Morin, who chairs the OCL’s civics committee, said they identified 103 Avenue as one of the unsafer roads in the neighbourhood, as there are a few uncontrolled intersections with only a yield sign in place. He added that cars often use the road to drive through the neighbourhood quickly.
The idea to add a vibrant crosswalk to that intersection came after the City of Edmonton launched its Street Labs program, where anyone with an idea for increasing road safety can submit a proposal.
While he thought it was going to take some time to get approval from the city, Morin said he was impressed by how straightforward and collaborative the process ended up being. The city also covered the cost of materials.
“Initially we were kind of intimidated by the number of documents and templates that were for the program,” he said. “But once we just got something in, we had that point of contact and we were able to just move on things rather quickly.”
Edmonton launched the two-year Street Labs program in April 2021 with $700,000 in funding. The initiative is part of the city’s Vision Zero strategy, which aims to reach zero traffic-related serious injuries and fatalities by 2032. More than 80 applications were sent in by late May.
City spokeswoman Sarah Giourmetakis said that five Edmonton neighbourhoods saw the implementation of a Street Labs project this year. These projects include eight vibrant crosswalks, four shared streets, nine parklets, and 12 curb extensions. The city is now working with other communities to install projects next year.
With a painted sidewalk now in place at 103 Avenue, Morin said the response has been generally positive.
“When we were painting it on their day, there were residents walking around and seeing the work being done, and they were all very positive about it,” he said. “They talked about how that intersection is problematic, and they are glad that there was something done with it.”
Morin added that the OCL is planning to do more to improve pedestrian safety on 103 Avenue, including more painted crosswalks, adding additional stop signs, and possibly putting in curb extensions.