Road Cycling

Bright illustrations of cycling animals along bike route meant to slow traffic and bring colour to Crescent Heights, Renfrew – Calgary Herald

‘We want to create a safe path and raise awareness for motorists to drive safely and slowly to improve the area for pedestrians and cyclists’

Bright illustrations of bicycle-riding animals are being painted along a bike route in northeast Calgary as part of an initiative to improve the area for cyclists and pedestrians.

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The colourful animals are meant to encourage drivers to slow down and share the road with cyclists along 8th Avenue from 2nd Street N.W. to 6th Street N.E. A series of nature-themed art is also being painted on the sidewalks at major intersections along 8th Avenue at Centre Street, Edmonton Trail and 6th Street N.E.

“We want to create a safe path and raise awareness for motorists to drive safely and slowly to improve the area for pedestrians and cyclists,” said the artist, Yiting Hui.

“I designed 17 Canadian animals on bikes. We are drawing them along 8th Avenue to connect the communities together with the bike route.”

The art is part of a project called Unite the Heights, which advocates for improvements to pedestrian and cycling infrastructure between the communities of Mayland Heights to Crescent Heights. The pilot project is a joint effort by the community associations in Crescent Heights and Renfrew.

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Hui, a Calgary-based illustrator, has a master’s degree in architecture from McGill University and strives to use her love of art to enhance the vibrancy of the city. She was selected as the artist for the project, which is funded by the Federation of Calgary Communities’ Activate YYC grant and Calgary Parking Authority Sponsorship.

Hui has been painting the streets and sidewalks with community volunteers on the weekends.

“We are calling people to slow down and pay attention to their surroundings. Listen to the leaves sway, the grass grow, the mountains sing and the stars twinkle,” said Hui, referencing the nature-themed sidewalk art she designed.

“Everyone from the neighbourhood can join in and paint with us. It’s not about me as an artist painting something for the community, but it’s about everyone coming together and creating something together so it belongs to them.”

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Her goal is to create art that will make people smile.

Artist Yiting Hui, left and volunteer Jill Van Denelzan paint along the centre of 8th Avenue N.E. as part of the Unite the Heights – Art Cycle Route on Monday, September 6, 2021. The art project which includes painted sidewalks, crosswalks and the painted bikes on the roadway stretches for several blocks from 2nd Street N.W. to 6th Street N.E. Photo by Gavin Young/Postmedia

Sandra Neill, engagement director with Crescent Heights Community Association, said some neighbours have gotten to know each other for the first time through the project despite living on the same block for years.

“Block by block, because we have to close the block to paint, we’re also going door to door talking to people about the project and trying to make it a bit of a block party at the same time,” said Neill.

“It’s been great for engagement within the community.”

Hui and the community volunteers will continue to paint over the next few weeks, but many of the animals and nature-themed designs are already complete, bringing colour to 8th Avenue.

sbabych@postmedia.com
Twitter: @BabychStephanie