Teale Phelps Bondaroff is looking forward to bringing road murals, like this one in Vancouver, to Saanich streets. (Photo courtesy Teale Phelps Bondaroff)

Saanich resident pushes for colourful road murals, cites traffic-calming benefits

Road murals are the ‘nexus of placemaking and road safety,’ says the resident

Colourful road murals may make an appearance on Saanich streets in 2020.

Through the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network, Saanich resident and researcher Teale Phelps Bondaroff has been working to introduce artwork to the surface of roads as a way to calm traffic, beautify the District, highlight local artists and create community.

Phelps Bondaroff explained that aside from bringing the work of local artists to Saanich neighbourhoods, road murals have also been proven to be a cost-effective way to reduce drivers’ speeds. He figured that since road safety and speed reductions are big concerns in Saanich, road murals could be a timely solution.

The colours and textures draw the attention of drivers back to the roadway and remind them that there are other road users around, he explained, pointing out that often times bike lanes are painted a different colour for the same reason.

Road murals are the “nexus of placemaking and road safety,” he said.

READ ALSO: Wet snow forecast for this evening in Greater Victoria

He’s has been working to get the District to set guidelines for installing road murals for about a year so that the project can move forward and so anyone interested can make their own road mural. Saanich doesn’t currently have guidelines, but Victoria has rules and a guide.

The road mural project would also serve as a research project for Phelps Bondaroff as he plans to install the murals in zones where Saanich has speed reader boards set up. This way, motorists’ speeds before and after the installation of the mural can be compared and quantitative road safety data can be reported.

Phelps Bondaroff acknowledges that people may have concerns about the safety of the murals.

“Yes, they do distract drivers but in a good way,” he said. “It reminds them to keep their eyes on the road.”

He noted that 3D designs could be dangerous because they may cause drivers to swerve thinking there’s something real on the roadway. The Saanich road murals would be one dimensional designs using lines and solid colours.

READ ALSO: Victoria storefronts transform into ‘squishy, pink’ human insides art installation

Another concern that’s brought up involves paint making the roads slippery. Phelps Bondaroff pointed out that cities across North America have successfully combated this issue by choosing mural locations where the road is textured or by adding walnut shells to the paint to give it some grip.

He noted that road murals typically last up to a year if they’re on a residential road and can be touched up annually to make them last longer.

While the project is still in the planning stage, Phelps Bondaroff is hopeful that Saanich will have regulations completed by spring so he can move forward and students can be involved in murals installed in school zones.

Anyone interested in spearheading a road mural project can email Phelps Bondaroff at hello@teale.ca for tips, help accessing durable, environmentally friendly paint and to connect with local artists. For more information on road murals, visit his website at teale.ca.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Central Saanich Police prepared for afternoon shut-down of Highway 17

Sgt. Paul Brailey questions efficacy of protest

Wet’suwet’en supporters occupying legislature in Victoria set press conference

Demonstrators have been occupying the legislature since Monday despite injunction

Saanich dog walkers react to potential review of bylaws allowing off-leash dogs on beaches

Focus should have remained on migratory birds, not on dog behaviour, says Cadboro Bay dog walker

UPDATED: Demonstrators plan to shut down Pat Bay Highway Wednesday afternoon

Adam Olsen, MLA, says issue should be taken to province, not communities

Wear your rose-coloured glasses for the second annual Pink Shirt Gala

Anti-bullying event promises pink drinks, food and shirts

Rail disruptions expected to continue after new protest sites emerge

Nationwide rail and road blockades have been popping up for weeks

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

COLUMN: Forestry no longer close to top of B.C.’s economy

Our reactions to a forestry downturn reflect the past, not the present

Caught on camera: Police release video of man who allegedly stole seaplane in Vancouver

Police say the man broke into the Harbour Air terminal and then got into one of the seaplanes in the harbour

51 health professionals send letter to Trudeau, Horgan panning northern B.C. pipeline

They point to studies about the health and climate change risks from pipeline

Fake meat and a latte? Starbucks adds Beyond Meat in Canada

The Seattle roaster has talked about introducing plant-based patties in the U.S., but has yet to do so

Most Read