Downtown Driggs Association – $1,000
The Community Foundation of Teton Valley was honored to award a $1,000 grant to the Downtown Driggs Association to create a crosswalk mural in downtown Driggs to slow traffic and provide students with a public art-making experience. The Foundation supports Downtown Driggs Association’s efforts to improve pedestrian safety and share public art in downtown Driggs. This project includes partnerships with the City of Driggs, Teton High School, and Teton Arts.
Traffic in downtown Driggs increases with population each year, making pedestrian crosswalks points of conflict with increases in accidents and near-misses. According to data from the City of Driggs, traffic has grown 12% in the last three years, and future growth is anticipated at a similar pace. Data from the Idaho Transportation Department reports that total car crashes in Driggs increased from 35 in 2021 to 52 in 2022, an increase of almost 50%. Additionally, the most recent 2021 state-wide data from Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Highway Safety reports that a pedestrian was injured in a traffic crash every 41 hours, and a bicyclist was injured in a traffic crash every 53 hours in the State of Idaho. 22% of these accidents occurred due to speeding, and 10% to inattention or distraction. This alarming data demonstrates the frequency with which such events occur across the state and how a continued increase in Teton Valley traffic will impact those who use crosswalks.
One of the busiest roads in downtown Driggs, aside from Highway 33, is West Little Avenue, with traffic moving to and from Broulim’s Plaza and the Colter Parking Lot, two of the most bustling business plazas in Driggs. With the development of Depot Square residential and business spaces, this area will become even more congested in the coming years, with more traffic on the roads and more pedestrians and bicyclists utilizing the crosswalks.
The Community Foundation grant will support The Creative Crosswalks project as it addresses an established West Little Avenue crosswalk that spans the street north to south from the road between the former See N’ Save and Alliance Title and Escrow to the Corner Drug Building Private Parking Lot, adjacent to Kaufman’s OK Tire. The crosswalk signage is in place, but the asphalt markings are unclear. Teton High School students can participate and conceive thematically connected compositions for the crosswalk that reflect Driggs’ unique identity, history, and culture.
Other crosswalk mural projects report that their bright colors and unique designs can create a sense of community while keeping pedestrians safer. Drivers notice patterns and bright colors more than white paint on asphalt, encouraging them to slow down. Artistic crosswalks contribute to placemaking efforts, and public feedback tends to be positive.
The Creative Crosswalks project was conceived of by Driggs Mayor August Christensen and Linda Fasano, a project volunteer and experienced muralist, art consultant, and civic placemaker, in partnership with the Downtown Driggs Association, in response to an increase in accidents and reports of vehicles speeding through crosswalks resulting in pedestrian near-misses. As a community placemaking partner for the City of Driggs, the Downtown Driggs Association has been charged with implementing and growing the Creative Crosswalk project with the help of community partners.
Katie Cavallaro, Teton High School’s Art Teacher, has approval from Teton County School District to identify three juniors excited to take on the Creative Crosswalks Project for their senior art project in the fall of 2023. Greg Myers, Teton Arts Executive Director, and Linda Fasano will travel to the schools to advise and guide students in the ideation process of their designs and present ways in which public art can support the cultural, economic, and aesthetic aspects of the community.
Students will be taught the necessity of maintaining state and federal crosswalk standards, including dual lines, colors, and reflectivity. Their mural design will not obstruct these required crosswalk elements. Jay Mazalewski, City of Driggs Public Works Director and City Engineer, has expressed support for this project and does not anticipate any issues with city approval if regulations are adhered to. The final design iteration will be sent to Mazalewski for approval as a transportation system improvement before implementation. Downtown Driggs Association will ensure student safety while painting the murals with bright reflective vests and traffic cones. Mazalewski will facilitate street closures during mural painting and paint drying with barricades and closure signage.
Downtown Driggs Association and the City of Driggs would like to use this initial Creative Crosswalks iteration as a pilot project to learn from in order to identify other locations in the downtown area that would benefit from more visible crosswalks.
The current project completion timeline is late September 2023. The Community Foundation commends the important work of the Downtown Driggs Association and the City of Driggs to enhance pedestrian safety and share public art in downtown Driggs.