News / Toronto

Play it safe in the paint: murals to increase security near streetcar stops

Proposal to add street artwork on loading areas in order to force drivers to stop gets nod from chief planner

The rendering of the painting on the streetcar stops, which aims to increase passenger safety by attracting drivers attention and force them to stop behind a stopped streetcar.

CONTRIBUTED

The rendering of the painting on the streetcar stops, which aims to increase passenger safety by attracting drivers attention and force them to stop behind a stopped streetcar.

A bit of colour could be coming to the streetcar stop nearest you.

A new proposal to paint the pavement adjacent to streetcar stops has won this year’s NXT City award — and received the public backing of Toronto’s chief planner.

Local artists Lucas DeClavasio and Andrew Patterson came up with the idea as a way to improve safety along Toronto’s busy streetcar routes.

According to Toronto police, a person is hit while exiting the streetcar at least once a month. The fine for passing an open streetcar door is $110.

As a regular Dundas streetcar user, Patterson says he’s witnessed how “dangerous” it can be.

“Drivers and cyclists are always passing a streetcar's open doors,” he said. “I think it’s very unsafe when you step out, you check out both ways but you never know when someone is going to fly by.”

According to Patterson, painting the roadway near streetcar stops could help grab drivers’ attention and get them to slow down — something he says the signs on the back of streetcars have failed to do.

The pitch has been endorsed by Toronto’s chief planner, Jennifer Keesmaat, who tweeted her support for the idea over the weekend.

“Beautify Toronto and make it safer, too,” Keesmaat said.

It’s not clear yet how many murals would be created or where they would be located, but Patterson said the King, Queen and Dundas routes are a top priority. With a $5,000 grant from NXT City in hand, the two artists will start putting together their official pitch to the city, and could be painting as early as the spring.

“There’s definitely room for creativity,” Patterson said of the murals’ design.

Metro Savers