Traffic-calming art


The Sunday NYT Magazine was the Annual Year in Ideas issue. Among the many interesting articles was the rather utilitarian goal behind a public art project in Cambridge, MA: to reduce traffic speeds at a busy intersection!

Soon the city was taking proposals for a circular mural, 20 feet in diameter, to be painted on the asphalt in the center of the intersection — a kind of artwork rotary. The objective, to reduce average speeds from 30 miles per hour to 25, seems relatively modest, but Rasmussen, citing statistics, says it’s significant: “The chance that a pedestrian would survive an accident is vastly greater at that speed.”

At a relatively modest cost of $10k (compared to what more conventional traffic calming methods would cost), the idea appears to be working.

Perhaps we might want to give this a whirl here as we embark on the many new developments?

Update: added traffic-calming image, courtesy Cambridge Bike Tours.


2 Responses to “Traffic-calming art”

  1. Ben Kruger Says:

    Excellent story, I’d just wish there was a picture!

  2. Doug Biggs Says:

    You might want to check out the work of City Repair in Portland. They are the real innovators of taking back intersections for communities – not only putting in traffic calming art, but also bringing neighbors together to build benches, gathering areas, even a neighborhood tea stand! Information on their many intersection repair projects is at

    Alameda already has a permitted precedent for intersection repair – every 4th of July a group of neighbors on Grand Ave. paint a flag banner or other symbol in the intersection.

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