Kansas City leaders turn to art installations to slow traffic at busy intersections

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Slowing down streets with art under your feet. That’s the strategy behind a new urban design plan Kansas City leaders have incorporated at some troublesome traffic intersections.

“So we’ve taken the fun of asphalt art public art and the functionality of traffic calming, and we blended the two into something that’s safe and fun all at one time,” said DuRon Netsell, founder of Steet Smarts Design + Build.

Netsell’s company won a competitive grant federal grant program to use art to increase safety at the city’s Westport Road and Wynadotte Street.

“So we narrowed the intersection through four bump-outs, created a four-way stop and added lime stone boulders, native trees, and asphalt art to enhance it and make it fun for everyone,” Netsell explained.

Louise Meyers owns the nearby Westport business Pryde’s Kitchen and Necessities.

“It’s made a difference,” Meyers said. “Just the fact that there are the boulders here and the stop signs, it’s really helped the traffic flow in Westport.”

City officials say the average speeds through the intersection have been reduced by 45%.

Deanna Capps works in the neighborhood.

“I have always been afraid that I’m going to get hit because people don’t like to stop here,” Capps said. “Now, it’s safer. It’s been nice.”

Netsell’s firm also decorated another busy intersection near the Ronald McDonald House at 25th and Cherry.

His says their next project will being next week in the city’s Volker neighborhood.

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