Several major cities across the United States have taken steps to enliven the appearance of the roadways on which citizens travel each day, hoping that greater exposure to artistic expression will instill a feeling of having a shared identity while also encouraging a sense of civic unity. The citizens in these cities have been nothing but supportive of these policies seeking to beautify the city in which they live, but the Federal Highway Association is beginning to step in against any kind of artwork that could potentially distract drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
The question that naturally follows is a difficult one to answer. After all, the FHA is simply exercising its duty to protect citizens from the potential dangers posed on the roadways by ensuring that traffic signs and crosswalks are immediately recognizable from a great distance. As 1 Stop Maintenance has demonstrated time and again while serving its clients, preventive maintenance is absolutely critical for an efficiently functioning operation. This holds true across a wide range of circumstances, and it is certainly hard to argue against any guideline that seeks to protect citizens from increased dangers on the roadways.
On the other hand, the art incorporated into the crosswalks has had a profound effect on citizens and seems to have legitimately played a role in improving how they perceive the city and their place in it. This is similar to the beautification and preventive maintenance efforts of a facilities management company like One Stop Maintenance, particularly since businesses are often judged on a wide range of factors that include the appearance and function of their facilities.
Does placing a fleur-de-lis or a rainbow inside the white lines of a crosswalk really create such a distraction that it becomes a pressing public safety issue? The FHA did note that the artwork may reduce the contrast between the white lines and the pavement, and perhaps an agency that spends a great deal of time researching the ideal font for roadway signs knows just how important every last bit of visibility is. Safety should always come first, but there is nothing wrong with hoping that other kinds of citywide art projects will continue to be explored and implemented across the United States.