Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture’s “Tactical Urbanism” class has partnered with the Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT), First Ward Elementary and the Charlotte Lab School on a project to promote urban vitality and safe pedestrian behavior along the walkways that connect the elementary schools and UNC Charlotte Center City.

On Friday, May 5, UNC Charlotte urban design students will paint the crosswalks and adjacent sidewalks with chalk spray paint to create a temporary 1,000-foot-long ecologically themed public art mural, inspired by drawings created by students from the two elementary schools. Upon the mural’s completion, the schoolchildren will be invited to see the artwork and learn about safe pedestrian practices.

The urban design students and Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design Deb Ryan were inspired by a discussion led by Janette Sadik-Khan, New York City’s former transportation commissioner, when she visited Charlotte in early April. Sadik-Khan advocated for streets that are less dominated by automobiles and safer and more engaging for pedestrians and bicyclists, and she suggested the use of temporary pilot projects as a way to prompt that change.

At 10 a.m., May 5, CDOT will close Brevard Street at 11th Street and East 9th Street at College Street to allow for the installation of the mural. The streets will remain closed until noon.

The ultimate goal of this project, according to Professor Ryan, is to begin to change the behaviors of all pedestrians around the busy Brevard/9th Street intersection, which sees an average of 5,300 vehicles daily.