Tempe Adaptive Streets program seeks to improve safety on city roads through artwork

The city's "Adaptive Streets Program" is looking to turn streets visually stunning while also making them safer.
Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 9:52 PM MST
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TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- If you’ve been at the intersection of 7th Street and Forest Avenue in Tempe in the last week, you might have noticed new artwork. It’s the first part of the city’s Adaptive Streets Program.

The program is about turning a neighborhood’s vision into reality while making the streets safer. “We work with you to give you the ok on it,” Tempe Deputy Engineering and Transportation Director Shelly Seyler said. “It’s really community driven on what our neighbors and businesses want.”

Seyler says the vision for the 7th Street and Forest Avenue intersection was through a partnership with the Downtown Tempe Authority, where a local Tempe artist came up with the designs that serve to make the intersection safer.

“The intent is to narrow that intersection, slow people down,” Seyler said. “And give the pedestrians a chance to cross the intersection without vehicles being right there.” Seyler says the artwork is only meant to be temporary, lasting for a year or two, hoping that permanent infrastructure changes like safer parking spots are made afterward.

When it comes to the initial response by those in the area, some like it. “I walk by it back and forth and see it every day, and it’s just really nice,” ASU freshman Cameron Dimarzio said.

But others aren’t as enthusiastic about the project. “There’s literally art to look at, so whoever’s crossing the street is going to stop and look,” said the General Manager of Phoenicia Cafe. “For me, that’s when an accident happens. So it kind of defeats the purpose in my point of view.”

But the wheels for this program are already in motion. “There’s definitely a lot of interest,” Seyler said. “The community is working with businesses that are able to provide grants or other nonprofits. We’re really open to listening to what the community wants.”

For any Tempe businesses or residents interested in applying to become part of the Adaptive Streets Program, you can visit the information page on the city’s website for more information and city contacts.