City streets have been hijacked by fast cars and trucks, as though these vehicles and their speeds were the only reason the roads were created in the first place. It is interesting to note that the road widths we see today are a legacy from a period before motor vehicles, when pedestrians and horses ruled the roads.
Pedestrian and cyclist safety is acknowledged as one of the great challenges in urban design across North America, but there are examples of innovative projects that seek to bring back a human element to the streetscape. This video shows a community art project that attempts to incorporate art into traffic management. Probably the best thing about this project is the fact that the community literally shut down an intersection and had a party in the middle of the street while engaging in a community-building activity.
YouTube – Ocean City NJ Paints a Street!
The project is an example of a human-scale activity reclaiming the streets of the town. With support from the local police, schools and the community arts association, this event is a clear success toward building community ownership of the streetscape.