The Collington Square community of East Baltimore holds a 200+ year old Swamp White Oak tree as its symbol. The “Oak Wisdom” traffic calming art crosswalks and Collington Square Neighborhood Association street pole banners are inspired by looking up through those sanctuary leaves. For decades the adjacent active, elevated train tracks have served as a visual and psychological barrier between Collington Square and its neighbors closer to Johns Hopkins Hospital. The street pole banners elevate neighborhood identity by showcasing a positive symbol for the area – the beloved centuries-old tree that stands magnificently atop the hill in their local park. The art crosswalks and “bump outs” provide a welcome gateway to Collington Square while slowing down aggressive car traffic, improving street-crossing safety for its residents who rely on walking to get to school and work.
Bump outs are sidewalk extensions that slow cars and make it safer for people to cross. The extended bump out areas were created with pavement line striping and flex-posts to enhance safety threefold: narrowing traffic lanes to force speeding motorists to slow down, enhancing the visibility of pedestrians waiting to cross, and shortening crosswalk distances. As a certified Siplast / GAF applicator, Graham Projects created the artwork using DOT-approved, eco-friendly, and ADA-compliant StreetBond pavement coating with custom pigmentation.
Amidst the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Graham Projects successfully worked closely with the Collington Square Neighborhood Association, City Life Community Builders, and the Baltimore City Department of Transportation (DOT) to gather community input, design, approve, and install the public artwork. In facilitating a community-based design process, Graham Projects met with residents and the community president to generate visual themes that were integrated into three designs proposed to the neighborhood association for their selection.
The Collington Square Oak Wisdom art crosswalks were installed by the Graham Projects team and local youth volunteers. Graham Projects’ professional installation team included lead public artist Graham Coreil-Allen with artist assistants Q Batts, Vilde Ulset, Stefanie Baker, and John Kwamya. A final phase of the project will be completed in Spring 2021 when Graham Projects will facilitate a community sidewalk paint day with local youth.