SETAC – South Etobicoke Transit Action Committee

Wysp’s Creation of King Street Pilot Stop Street Murals

Wysp describes their creation of their award winning King Street Pilot stop street murals, which is summarized here:

The Wysp team won the 2016 NXT City Prize with the Streetcar Safety Murals idea, and two of them were painted in August 2018. Here’s how we got it done…

The idea was to create murals on the road at transit stops with the goal of drawing attention to the safety zone where cars are not permitted to enter when the streetcar doors open for patrons. The murals would stretch the length of the streetcar and be just under the width of a lane.

At the time, Jennifer Keesmaat was the Chief Planner (and now a mayoral candidate), and she was involved in supporting the NXT City Prize. She had positive things to say about the winning idea, most notably in this CBC article. Her public support, in relation to the NXT City Prize, was what spurred the project on.

After the buzz died down a bit, we were in touch with the NXT founders to see if there was any progress at City Hall regarding the murals. This was around the time the City was hosting King Street Pilot meetings, and we were told that the murals would be implemented into the Pilot.

Before knowing about the King Street Pilot details, we had reached out to a couple residential developers in Toronto and a few BIAs about sponsoring the murals (perhaps prematurely). There was a lot of interest, but once the murals were part of the Pilot, we had the opportunity to work on the project directly with the City.

I should point out that the City didn’t have to work with us on this project. We were happy just with the thought of seeing the idea executed, but of course, we let NXT and their contacts at the City know that we were ready to jump on board if they required assistance. Fortunately for us, they invited us to come in and discuss the details.

Eventually, the City decided that paint would be the easiest and most affordable material for the Pilot project, with the idea being we should test to see if people even like the murals. If people like the murals, perhaps the City will create more, potentially with a more durable product. We may even discover that the floor paint used will last longer than expected. Also, there’s a chance people don’t like them, in which case, the most temporary application makes the most sense.

When the first site visit was conducted, it was discovered that there were many obstacles at the proposed locations, including public driveways that would need to be closed, damaged asphalt, sewers, and loading areas. In order for the murals to be painted, the whole lane and TTC stop would have to be closed for an entire weekend.

To simplify the process, the locations of the two murals were moved to King and Church, where the stops have been moved to the far side of the intersection and are pedestrian-only. This was good for the paint because it no longer has to stand up to car tires.

The location change does seemingly eliminate part of the purpose of the murals, which was to draw attention to the safety zone where cars are not supposed to enter when the doors open. Bordered by the yellow tactile mats at the northwest corner and southeast corner of the intersection, the murals still beautify the street and could potentially prevent cars from wrongfully pulling over into the pedestrian waiting zone.

<a href=””>To see photos</a>

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