Burlington will add a little color to the downtown ahead of the arrival of RAGBRAI.
The city council has granted Art Center of Burlington Executive Director Tammy McCoy’s request to create permanent murals within the crosswalks at the intersections of 3rd & Jefferson, 4th & Jefferson and 5th & Jefferson. McCoy said artists created two temporary chalk murals last summer and one so far this summer.
“The community has responded very favorably, they love the murals,” said McCoy. “People are excited about a little color downtown.”
McCoy said the response from the public is why she requested the use of permanent paint for the murals. She said her goal is to have one of the four crosswalks in each intersection painted before thousands of riders arrive for RAGBRAI on July 26, with more to be completed in the following weeks.
“I already have about a half-dozen artists interested in helping,” said McCoy. “I am confident we will be able to reach that goal ahead of RAGBRAI.”
Aldermen did raise some concerns about safety because the colorful crosswalks could distract people.
Assistant City Manager Nick MacGregor, who heads the city’s public works department, told the city council he supported the idea. He said other cities are decorating crosswalks in pedestrian-friendly areas.
“I would prefer to have the white lines shown, but it’s not a big necessity,” said MacGregor.
McCoy said she will tell the artists that the miniature murals will have to stay within the white lines that designate the crosswalk. She expects the artists to work during upcoming farmers markets along Jefferson Street as the area will be closed to vehicle traffic and there will be a crowd to watch.