Lincoln neighborhood creates street mural to slow drivers

LINCOLN, Neb. -- A Lincoln neighborhood that sees a lot of speeders has created a giant yellow reminder for drivers to slow down.

Residents of the South of Downtown neighborhood painted a street-sized smiley face on the pavement of 11th Street with the phrase “Slow your roll,” according to the Lincoln Journal Star.

“This was just a low hanging way we could try to slow traffic,” South of Downtown Community Arts Organizer Kat Weise said.

Residents painted the face over the weekend as a neighborly reminder to motorists. The project follows a July 21 crash where a boy was hit by a car on nearby C Street. The boy wasn’t hurt, but some kids in the area no longer felt safe biking in their own neighborhood, said Pepe Fierro, a local restaurant owner.

 

Fierro said he and other South of Downtown residents have been asking the city to put in more safeguards. From A to K streets, there are no stop signs and only one roundabout, which he said is so low that people often drive through it.

The issue is compounded by the fact that Everett Elementary School is in the area, increasing the number of young pedestrians in the area.

While Weise said she and others would like to see raised crosswalks, more street signs and have the speed limit lowered from 35 mph to 25 mph, the mural should help slow traffic in the area until the city can permanently solve the problem.

The mural has other benefits too, Weise said. With 40% of the neighborhood being public space and 94% of area residents renting their homes instead of owning them, public art made by the community can help foster a true sense of ownership and pride in the neighborhood, she said.

And while there’s excitement about the opportunity to improve the situation and add some public art to the area, Weise said, ultimately the city needs to make changes to the area as soon as possible.

“I don’t want to see another kid get hit by a car because of our failure to address this in a quick and timely way,” she said.

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