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If you’re frustrated with the slow speed of efforts to make streets safer, perhaps you should grab a paint brush.

During New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration, the city reclaimed 180 acres of road space, creating 60 park plazas in large part by rerouting traffic and simply painting the surface of the road. The effort transformed many city streets from something other than the “sea of gray” that urban corridors tend to be.

“Reclaiming these streets gave us a huge canvas for vibrant art and safe-street designs,” Janette Sadik-Khan, Bloomberg’s transportation commissioner, said at the CityLab DC conference on Monday. “But these projects are more than eye candy. They can deliver significant safety benefits for pennies on the dollar.”

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