I don’t think anyone would deny that it is important for drivers to slow down in the area of an elementary school. That being said, it is often necessary to enforce those rules strictly because people just don’t seem to slow down enough.
This was the case at the Brooks Elementary School in Massachusetts. Eric Dodson’s brother was in the 4th grade when he had a close call with a car in the area. Eric and Isa knew something had to be done, so they got busy doing it.
“We were thinking of a way we could do something to help make the street safer,” Isa, Dodson’s project partner, told CBS Boston.
The idea was to slow drivers down by utilizing a three-dimensional crosswalk at a particularly troublesome intersection. This type of initiative has been used in China and Iceland. Once they had a plan, they took it to Medford’s Center for Citizenship and Social Responsibility. That organization funds projects led by students that improve communities. They also discussed it with Medford Mayor Stephanie Muccini Burke and were told they could pitch the idea to the local traffic commission. They ended up getting the green light.
It’s a fairly simple concept. Most crosswalks are painted with flat lines to demarcate the area where people can safely cross the road. 3D crosswalks add shading and shadows to present an illusion that there are blocks in the middle of the road.
“When you’re walking across you can tell it’s painted,” said Isa, “but what we hope is, when you’re driving down, you’ll see it as 3D, three dimensional. So it looks real.”
These custom crosswalks were painted near Brooks Elementary School by artist, Nate Swain. Nails and string were used to carefully lay out the design and then the appropriate shading and colors were used. You can see it for yourself in this video: