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Like astir different days, cars traveled on West North Avenue astatine a brisk clip astir noon Saturday.
But erstwhile they entered the intersection of West North Avenue and North Palmer Street successful Harambee and saw youths coating achromatic lotus flowers and different colorful images onto the crosswalk, they slowed down. And that was precisely the point.
“We are each present together, and we each privation to beryllium safe,” said 13-year-old Jazale Hill, who, on with others, helped to re-create the images with overgarment brushes and rollers connected the crosswalk. “When we dilatory down, we’re showing that we attraction astir each other.”
Jazale, the girl of well-known Milwaukee creator Vedale Hill, was portion of a squad of youths and adults who participated successful the “Cross/Words/North” project, an effort to summation a consciousness of assemblage and rise consciousness astir reckless driving on North Avenue.
They painted 4 crosswalks Saturday, 2 connected North Palmer Street and the others connected North Hubbard Street, each featuring images that correspond the themes of empowerment, diversity, emotion and unity.
“Those are words that the younker subordinate with community,” said Stephanie Krellwitz, who led the community-based task for Artists Working successful Education, besides known arsenic AWE. Krellwitz said the task makes creation much accessible to the assemblage portion prompting drivers successful a high-traffic country to beryllium much mindful.
“It volition marque radical inquire questions,” she said. “Why this design?”
The “why” is that being portion of a assemblage means feeling harmless there, said Joshua Fuentes, 13, who besides created images utilized successful the crosswalks. Joshua, who similar Hill, is simply a pupil astatine St. Marcus Lutheran School, said he’s seen the aftermath of car crashes and known radical who person been affected by reckless driving. When radical dilatory down, everybody benefits, helium said.
“If I cognize I’m harmless to locomotion astir successful my community, past I cognize that my assemblage is safe,” helium said.
The archetypal thought to make projects to code reckless driving successful Harambee came from a nonmigratory who often rides his motorcycle on North Avenue, according to Mark Lisowski, a assemblage organizer for Safe and Sound. Safe and Sound works with residents and different section organizations, including the Milwaukee Police Department, to summation information and nonmigratory engagement successful the city. Lisowski said that 1 of the main concerns of residents is out-of-control drivers.
With the enactment of residents and different organizations, Safe and Sound applied for and received a $5,000 assistance from the City of Milwaukee’s Reckless Driving Mini-Grant program. The grants are being utilized to money the crosswalk and different project. A full of $108,000 was awarded to 18 assemblage organizations to motorboat efforts to transportation drivers to dilatory down.
The themes down the crosswalk creation connected North Avenue were identified during 2 Zoom visioning sessions led by Artists Working successful Education, representatives of Safe and Sound, St. Marcus Lutheran School and residents and students from the area. The task was besides supported by Ald. Milele Coggs. Krellwitz, a Milwaukee-based painter, is besides pb creator of different crosswalk mural task that volition beryllium completed this week connected North 31st Street adjacent Galena Street United Methodist Church to rise consciousness connected the issue.
These smaller efforts are portion of a larger propulsion to curb reckless driving successful Milwaukee. One large improvement successful enactment of that enactment is simply a program by Mayor Tom Barrett to put $6 cardinal of American Rescue Plan Act funds to code the issue.
“Residents are asking metropolis authorities to instrumentality action,” said Barrett, who described North Avenue arsenic an epicenter of reckless driving. “As we curb reckless driving, we are improving safety, expanding vicinity prime of beingness and restoring a consciousness of civility connected our roadways.”
If the program is approved, astir of the funds would beryllium utilized connected carnal improvements, including curb extensions, pedestrian refuge islands, raised crosswalks, pedestrian signals and pavement markings, Barrett said. More than $1 cardinal of those funds would spell to the Milwaukee Police Department to enactment reckless driving enforcement activities.
According to information from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, determination were 12,943 crashes that resulted successful 34 fatalities and 4,102 injuries successful Milwaukee County from January done June. Speed was cited arsenic a origin successful 1,748 of those crashes. There was 1 little clang fatality during that aforesaid clip play past year, but the fig of crashes and injuries has increased.
Although respective crashes person occurred adjacent the St. Marcus campus, 2215 N. Palmer St., speeding has besides resulted successful galore adjacent calls, said Maureen Gunn, assemblage engagement specializer for the school. She said a car flying down the thoroughfare astir deed her arsenic she exited her car astatine the school. With summertime successful afloat bloom and St. Marcus acceptable to unfastened its 3rd field successful the vicinity astatine the aged Harambee Community School connected North First and West Burleigh streets, adjacent much children volition beryllium walking connected the streets.
“Children privation to spell retired and play safely and bask their vicinity and it’s hard to bash that erstwhile cars are driving recklessly,” she said.
Crosswalk murals connected North Avenue portion of a larger effort to code reckless driving successful city was primitively published by the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service.