Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Art student paints Wausau crosswalks bright colors in effort to slow down trafficSubmitted: 08/15/2016
Story By Lane Kimble

Art student paints Wausau crosswalks bright colors in effort to slow down traffic
WAUSAU - When you lie down to paint in the middle of a street, you're bound to get noticed. But Sarah Lentz wants drivers to see less of her and more of her artwork.

"[Drivers should say] 'Whoa, what's that?'" Lentz said.  "And then they'll be like, 'Oh, pedestrians,' and then stop."


The Hamline University art and political science major painted brightly colored designs in front of the Wausau Center Mall's entrance on Washington Street Monday morning.  It's an intersection with a problem much deeper than aesthetics.

"For some reason, cars just refuse to stop at this intersection," Lentz, a Wausau native, said.

Lentz decided to use her skills to the city's benefit. Through her Wausau River District internship, Lentz brought the idea of "traffic calming murals" to the busy intersection. Using a handful of bright colors, Lentz and some helpers, including the Wausau Boys and Girls Clubs, painted bricks on two crosswalks in front of the mall.

"It's great to also interact with a lot of community members and help educate them about this intersection and just pedestrian safety as well," Lentz said.

Lentz took inspiration from similar projects in St. Paul and Portland, Oregon, to bring the idea to northern Wisconsin.

"We've actually already seen the impact," said Wausau River District Executive Director Liz Field. "It was amazing." 

Field says cars started stopping at Lentz's first crosswalk, which dried by late Monday morning.

"It's huge, especially as communities become more walkable and people demand that more," Field said. "Having a safe, walkable community is so important."

Pedestrian safety is definitely a priority, especially in a city where a number of people get hit by cars every year. Wausau police told Newswatch 12 that anything that helps notify drivers of a crosswalk is a good thing.

Wausau police estimate that up to 12 pedestrians get hit by cars each year, not including bikers. Police keep a close watch on places where people walk a lot, but it takes a community effort to keep everyone safe.

"We rely on those partnerships to maintain a high quality of life and to protect our residents and also our guests," said Wausau Police Lieutenant Ben Graham. "It's great that this person has decided to invest some time."

It's an investment Sarah Lentz is happy to make for her community, even if takes awhile to get results.

"With crosswalks, [the effectiveness of this art is] debatable, but either way it's still beautiful and fun," Lentz said.

The Wausau River District doesn't plan to stop with these crosswalks. They're looking at painting two more around the 400 Block next year.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

Play Video

TOMAHAWK - Charlotte Andreachi owns the Knot Haus craft shop in downtown Tomahawk. This holiday season, she wanted to give back by helping homeless people in the area.

"It's much worse than most of us think, which is what I found out too," said Andreachi.

Then, she got an idea.

"I had a rack in the back that wasn't being used," said Andreachi.

+ Read More

CORNING - A fatal car crash occurred early this morning in the Town of Corning. The crash took place at 3:12 AM on State Road 64.

A witness reports seeing the victim swerve to miss a deer, leaving the roadway, and rolling over. Corning firefighters responded but the victim was pronounced dead on the scene.

+ Read More

Play Video

SUGAR CAMP - 23-year-old Sean Holtslander died in Sugar Camp after being hit on his motorcycle in August.

The Oneida county sheriff's office arrested Jeffrey Liebscher in connection to the crash.
 
Dorothy Holtslander said she feels the justice system failed her son, and her life without her son has been a living nightmare.

She doesn't think the bond for Liebscher matched the circumstances.

"The DA told me he was hoping for $20,000 to $50,000 considering he took a life; I don't think $1,500 is a modest or significant amount," said Holtslander.

+ Read More

MADISON - More than 234,000 voters in Wisconsin would be made unable to cast their ballot unless they register again before the next election under a lawsuit that liberals fear could dampen turnout among Democrats in the 2020 presidential race.

The lawsuit being filed Wednesday could affect how many voters are able to cast ballots in both the April presidential primary and November 2020 general election in Wisconsin.

+ Read More

Play Video

- A Minocqua man facing ten felony counts of possessing child pornography waived his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday.

Matthew Kummer was arrested last month at James Williams Middle School in Rhinelander.

Kummer said he was there to pick up his friend's daughter.

Police later found pictures of underage girls on Kummer's phone and on a flash drive at his home.

Kummer also faces charges of Photographing a minor without consent and violating terms of the sex offender registry.

+ Read More

SHOREWOOD, WI - All public schools in a Milwaukee suburb closed after officials say a high school student wrote a hit list and was found in possession of a loaded magazine of ammunition.

Shorewood School District officials said because of "ongoing safety concerns," classes and activities are canceled Wednesday.

+ Read More

WAUKESHA - Video footage captured a bus driver rescuing two young children found wandering in the snow Monday morning.

When the Waukesha bus driver, Nicole Chamberlain, saw the two children, she didn't hesitate.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: