LEXINGTON, Ky. — Lexington is transforming some of its mundane infrastructure into public service announcements.
Starting in October, the city used specially designed wraps to decorate eight large silver signal cabinets at key pedestrian intersections. The wraps were designed by Bullhorn, a local brand consulting agency.
The message on the boxes is part of the city’s Safe Streets effort to educate pedestrians about safety. “Heads Up. You’re worth it.” is on the side of the signal box that faces the sidewalk at Main and Limestone streets. “Heads Up. There’s a whole world out there,” reads a box at North Broadway and Fourth streets.
The city paid $1,500 for each wrap using a combination of city and grant money.
Pedestrian safety is a growing concern in Lexington. As of Dec. 16, seven pedestrians had been killed on city streets, just shy of the 10 killed in 2016 and 2008, both record highs.
David Filiatreau, signal systems manager for the city, said the wraps also deter graffiti.
“These are so much easier to clean; the graffiti washes right off,” Filiatreau said.
The wraps comply with federal highway rules regarding signage facing streets. The city had to ensure that the words faced the sidewalk so drivers would not try to read them as they drive, Filiatreau said.
The tarted-up signal boxes can also be found at the intersections of Loudon and North Broadway, Woodland and Maxwell, and Avenue of Champions and Limestone. All of those intersections are high-pedestrian traffic areas.
There also are three in the Beaumont neighborhood off Harrodsburg Road, an area that has struggled to become more pedestrian user-friendly.
Lexington-Fayette Urban County Councilwoman Amanda Bledsoe said signal cabinet boxes are used as public art in Cleveland. She pushed to try something similar here, but there was money available for public service announcements about pedestrian safety.
Bledsoe said she used some funds from prior year’s surpluses to pay for the wraps in the Beaumont area, which is in her council district.
“The feedback so far has been good,” she said.
If more funding becomes available, Bledsoe said she hopes signal cabinets can be used for public art or wayfinding, as they are in Cleveland.
“Different corridors could have different themes,” Bledsoe said.
Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com