The Wichita Falls City Council recently approved a project to make downtown streets more colorful and more pedestrian friendly. It seems that with the increase in businesses downtown there has also been an increase in pedestrian traffic, and all of those feet need to cross the streets from time to time. Rather than just add in the normal, run of the mill crosswalk markings, Downtown Wichita Falls Development looked at what other cities have done and decided to try something a bit more artistic.

The first crosswalk to be done will be at 7th and Indiana and it was hoped that it would begin this week. Ultimately, the exact timing of the installation depends on the weather. The extreme heat of the summer and the temperature of the asphalt itself may push the installation back a few weeks both for the safety and well-being of the artist and the proper installation of the work. Several other intersections are in line for some potential artwork including Indiana at 9th street, Ohio at 7th and 9th streets, and Scott at 7th and 9th streets.

Because this is something brand new in Wichita Falls there will be a six month trial period after the first crosswalk art is installed to evaluate how it stands up to traffic and to determine public reception. If everything goes well more intersections will be done. There is even a plan in place to let the public weigh in on which design will be installed at one of the intersections. According to Jana Schmader, Executive Director of DWFD, one of the ideas proposed is to have one of the intersection designs be determined by a public vote. Downtown Wichita Falls Development will narrow it down to three renderings that they like and will put that out over social media so people can learn about the process. Then the public can actually select what they would like to see go in at that intersection.

The agreement between the city of Wichita Falls and DWFD states that the special paint needed will be provided by the city and that the artist group involved will be responsible for upkeep for a 10-year period. Other funding will come from DWFD, a nonprofit organization, and other private donors.

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