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Tactical Urbanism: People and Pavement

2017 APA Conference Session on Sunday May 7, 2017 Session Code #9107964

This is the Resource page, provided by Margaret Rifkin, for those who are seeking more information about the topics covered in this APA session.

Session Description:

How can you set up local government policies for people to initiate and test their own ideas for interventions for walking and biking? What are the issues and challenges of creating a path and crosswalk on existing asphalt, and how do you address them? This session covers these topics and more.

New! Review the presentation from Margaret Rifkin’s Tactical Urbanism session at the 2017 APA Conference (PDF)


Montgomery County, Maryland Planning Department Urban Designer and Planner Margaret Rifkin presents with Mike Lydon of Street Plans Collaborative, on tactical urbanism and the relationship between people and pavement at the 2017 APA Conference in New York City. Margaret was one of the lead creators of the “purple path” in Silver Spring as a pedestrian safety improvement and art project.  Rifkin has been a lead in the creation and management of the Department’s new Design Excellence Award Program, an initiative that recognizes the best in urban design in Montgomery County. Attendees in the People and Pavement session will learn:

  • How to set up a program for community-initiated demonstration projects to test ideas for improving walking and biking.
  • The basics of planning, designing, implementing, and maintaining a temporary path through an existing parking lot and an artistic crosswalk.
  • What is the MUTCD manual, and why does it matter? How to find and follow best practices for such projects based on the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).
  • Why are safety and design considerations such as color, texture, patterns, and posts important?

More Great Info about the topic!

Quick Links:

  1. Pinterest Board showing Crosswalk Art found on the web: see the Pinterest page of “Margaret K Rifkin RLA AICP”. Find out how to join Pinterest here.
  2. Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) 2009 with Revisions 1 and 2, May 2012 This is from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration. This is always being updated and interpreted. It is wise to confirm that you have the most recent information.  The section on  Crosswalk Design is  Section 18. You will need to scroll down to the section.   An official ruling from August 2013,  that interprets the section is  3(09)-24.  Here is the page with the latest news on rulings: You also need to check to see if your state has amended the MUTCD by adding a supplement or creating a complete State MUTCD.
  3. Crosswalk Marking Field Visibility Study: . This is the type of research that the FHWA relies on.
  4. Carlos Cruz-Diez – a portfolio and biography.
  5. Roadsworth – Peter Gibson – a portfolio and biography.
  6. Christo Guelov – Funny Cross II Torrelodones, Madrid – a portfolio and biography.
  7. Crossing the Line – Trailer for Documentary about Roadsworth . The artist’s story about his inspiration, arrest and support from the community.


Fort Lauderdale Crosswalks

Fort Lauderdale Painted Intersections Project

First Avenue  – May 2014

Second Avenue – July 2014

Breakers Avenue – 2016

West Palm Beach  Florida – Tamarind and Fern  (Street Plans Collaborative)

Creative Crosswalks Around the World –  July 14, 2016 by Francesca Perry of Guardian Cities –  April 2017

Austin Texas  Creative Crosswalks Pilot Program – 2016

Project for Public Spaces 

Seattle Washington Community Crosswalks Program

Portland Oregon  Intersection Repair Program

Lompoc California – Creative Crosswalks Program


Name Year Link to VideoMaterials and Tools
Painting Crosswalks in Columbia SC 2016“One Columbia for Arts and History “using spray paint in cans and cardboard to mask pavement and create shapes.3 colors no white.Spray Paint in handheld cans Cardboard squares
Greensboro NCMonopoly squares at corners.2017 .(to help get people to take eyes off the phone) Police using sidewalk art to make pedestrians safer in downtown.Paint and sculptures
Curitiba City Hall Crosswalk Art 2011“Now that you’ve taken notice, use the crosswalk.” And a URL. $2,698 for materials: paint and duct tape.  Only the white band nearest the curb is painted with artwork.;_ylt=A0LEVjevP_VYd9YA16knnIlQ?p=crosswalk+art&fr=yhs-mozilla-004&fr2=piv-web&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-004#id=5&vid=f62b7ce4cff3b0b5d57a2a3374ddcef5&action=view Small paint brushes
Public Arts Project: Playing in Traffic (Painting Crosswalks) Spartanburg, South Carolina 2016ARTIST – Blannon Blasko   www.mirambling.comWhite and blue wide bands.;_ylt=A0LEVjevP_VYd9YA16knnIlQ?p=crosswalk+art&fr=yhs-mozilla-004&fr2=piv-web&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-004#id=5&vid=f62b7ce4cff3b0b5d57a2a3374ddcef5&action=viewPaint brush
Artist Designed Crosswalk, SENSE Charter School, Indianapolis Indiana 2016Stencils and paint brushes. Children painting.;_ylt=A0LEVjevP_VYd9YA16knnIlQ?p=crosswalk+art&fr=yhs-mozilla-004&fr2=piv-web&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-004#id=10&vid=82654e1aeac4b7eaf9d66c7c21d6eda7&action=viewStencil and paint brushSmall rollers
Color Jam – ChicagoArtist: Jessica Stockholder2012;_ylt=A0LEVj3SQvVY7.YAHCAnnIlQ?p=public+art+corsswalk&fr=yhs-mozilla-002&fr2=piv-web&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-002#id=26&vid=f04fe2b45d9899df6dd6e21506e75906&action=viewCrosswalk, Sidewalk and buildings as canvases for bold color pattern at a city scale.Serious application of sheathing on buildings and paint on pavement.
Piano Key CrosswalkCrosswalk ArtThe Godfrey Dean Art GalleryMEEP Creative Agency 2012Professional installation technique of piano key crosswalk. Large metal frame stencil.  Industrial paint sprayer.  Yorkton Business Improvement District. City of Yorkton. artsVest. Piano Key Crosswalks have also been installed in the following places: Milwaukee 2013; Warsaw Poland (Chopin)-2010; Salzburg School of Music – with piano music – 2009; Fort Wayne Indiana, Packard Park – 2016 (Packard Piano and Organ Co.); Hayward CA – Downtown.)Industrial paint sprayer.Large metal framed stencil.
Crosswalks Don’t Always Make You Safer (Abbey Road) 2016 USDOT analysis of data on marked and unmarked crosswalks. Findings: marked crosswalk on 4 lane road more dangerous. On 2 lane road no difference in safety. Recommends shared space schemes and shows Exhibition Road in London. Things You Might Not Know by Tom Scott NAShared Street with distinctive pavement.
New crosswalks installed in Downtown Cleveland 20176000 pedestrians killed in 2016. Governors Highway Safety Association determined 82% of deaths occur outside intersections.ER Doctor attributes it to distracted walking due to cell phone use. $17,000 per enhanced crosswalk.Signs, buttons and flashing lights at crosswalks.