INDIANAPOLIS — It’s an accident waiting to happen. At least that’s what many residents of the Community Heights area of east Indianapolis believe when it comes to reckless driving.
“I always say they are [drivers] they’re late to their own funeral because when you drive around here, you’re going to have an accident soon,” said Jessie Froschauer.
That’s where a mural painted by residents earlier this month comes in. It is located on the corner of East 16th Street and Graham Avenue across from Indianapolis Public School 88.
“I was commissioned to create a piece to slow down traffic in the area,” said Deonna Craig, the artist behind the traffic calming mural.
The mural is part of “tactical urbanism” – a low-cost, community-driven approach to creating change.
“We know that tactical urbanism as a general policy or an umbrella term, rather, covers many different things for many different people. It can be treatments in terms of an urban landscape. It can also be different ways in which neighborhoods are they reach out to their local government to implement different, often temporary, treatments to help with street safety along neighborhood roads,” said Ben Easley of the Indianapolis Department of Public Works.
Craig used feedback from neighbors at the meetings, in the form of sketches and the like, to create the mural commissioned by the Community Heights Neighborhood Organization.
“Sometimes traffic calming murals are like a psychological trick just to tell people something is there and just to trick their minds into paying attention to their surroundings,” Craig said.
CHNO’s president tells WRTV that talks about the project began last September after concerns about speeding and reckless driving grew in the area. They secured grants in March to make it happen.
Earlier this month, CHNO said about 80 residents came out to paint the mural. Froschauer was one of them.
“This is my neighborhood. I care. I care about these kids,” Froschauer said.
He has lived within walking distance of the corner of E 16th Street and Graham Avenue for nearly 30 years, saying reckless driving has always been a problem in the area.
“I expected it [the traffic calming mural] he would, but he hasn’t. It’s not holding anyone back,” Froschauer said.
That’s why both Craig and the neighborhood organization ask for patience. Another mural will be painted across the street next month.
“Let’s talk. The people who walk these streets can be our neighbors and let’s talk to them. And it’s better than nothing,” Craig said.
Once the project is complete, the neighborhood organization tells WRTV that a second traffic study will be conducted to see if and how traffic has changed in that area since the traffic calming murals were installed.
For those looking to make a similar change in their neighborhood, the Indianapolis Department of Public Works added two new policies this year: one is “Tactical Urbanism” and the other is “Art in the Right of Way.” Those with submissions are asked to email [email protected]
“What’s important to know is that by establishing these policies, we’re opening the doors to all kinds of good ideas from the neighborhoods, to bring them to us a look at what’s feasible within the public right-of-way and friendly. to continue the conversation about how we might implement some of them together,” Easley said.
On Friday, August 26, there will be an official ribbon cutting of the muralth between 5-7 at IPS School 88.
CHNO is looking for volunteers to help paint the second mural in the westbound lane on September 25th. Those interested in volunteering can email [email protected]