KANSAS CITY, Kan. – There's a new crosswalk in KCK that appears to be floating.
City crews installed a 3D crosswalk at the intersection of Augusta and Northridge Drive on Friday. The eye-catching design is meant to improve pedestrian safety in the neighborhood and slow down traffic.
“We’ve been working with this neighborhood about improving safety because there are a lot kids that play around here, and they want to keep the speed low,” said Lideana Laboy, the city traffic engineer for the Unified Government.
Laboy and her team got the idea for the optical illusion, which appears to be hovering above the street, after seeing a similar design in Iceland.
“Right now, it’s kind of an attraction,” Laboy said. “It’s something new, and people are just getting used to it.”
They drew the dimensions for the design before testing it in their shop and later adding it to the street.
“It’s very similar to a regular crosswalk,” Laboy said. “We use a thermoplastic for the top layer and used regular paint to create the floating visual effect," Laboy said.
The 3D crosswalk cost less than $500 to install, which is about the same price as a normal crosswalk, and it serves two purposes.
“Bring the attention to the driver that this is a crossing location, and for pedestrians, we want them to know this is where you should cross the street to be safe,” Laboy said. “If we accomplish those two things, we will have met our goal."
Greg Bast lives up the street from the new installation. He has two young children and said he’s willing to give anything a shot because the 30 mph speed limit in the neighborhood isn’t enough.
“We have a school up there on top of the hill. A lot children live in the community. And we have a lot of blind curves and hills all the way through this main road, and you can’t always see to stop in time,” Bast said.
Laboy admits the test design isn't entirely perfect.
“From the driver’s perspective, we would like to see it a bit more elongated because, since you’re moving, you need to be able to see it from a further distance and longer period of time,” Laboy said.
Her team will conduct observations and collect feedback from neighbors before adding any future 3D crosswalks.