A collection of common questions asked about Paint the Pavement.
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How much does it cost to paint an intersection? It depends on the square footage of your design! If the design is a few lines or dots, it will take a lot less paint than if it covered the entire intersection. So - one design might take a few gallons, and another 50 gallons. Traffic marking paint and anti-skid additive, which are required in St. Paul, cost about $18/gallon and $3/additive packet. Depending on the pavement condition, 1 gallon of paint will cover 50 to 80 square feet. Cost is one of the first things your project team will need to discuss. After a design has been agreed upon, the neighbors will need to figure out how they will come up with supplies and paint. See Calculating the Paint Area & Cost form in the How To section.
How can we pay for our project? If you get donated paint and supplies from your local hardware/paint store, it might not cost a cent. If you purchase paint, you may decide to split the cost between all the neighbors, pass the hat (hey, if 100 people show up and each contributes $5, that’s $500!), have bake sales, or go to your local businesses and banks to fundraise. If there are not a lot of funds available, consider a simpler design, or one that can be done in phases (add coverage each year). How you fundraise is up to your project team to decide. Also see the Fundraising Ideas document in the How To section. The Menards at 2005 University Ave W (at Prior) offers a small discount on paint and additive to PtP groups - ask for the Paint Manager when you go in to pre-order paint.
How much time will this take to do? You cannot do this single-handedly, no matter how much time and enthusiasm you have. Plus, you can't build community if you don't include them in the work! The key is to find other neighbors who also want to see this happen. If your project team is organized and everyone knows their responsibilities, you can get a PtP organized and painted in 8 weeks. Most groups start talking casually about it, and then when they decide to "go for it," it then takes a few months to get everything together. Of course, in Minnesota, you have all winter and most of the spring to plan… See the Timeline/Important Dates worksheet in the How To section.
Does every single neighbor need to be interested? Not at all. Not every person will be interested – although, many people change their minds after they learn more or find out their neighbors support it. Having discussions about the process and having all neighbors feel included is important. Not every person needs to commit to having a role or coming to paint, but we’ve found most everyone shows up for the paint day because – it is fun! In the end, you’ll need 80% of your neighbors within a 1 block radius to agree to the painting (and every house immediately adjacent to the painting, such as the four corner homes on an intersection) - see step 5 of the PtP Public Works checklist in the “How do I get started?” section.
Will cars skid on the painted intersections? Traffic marking paint is designed for road wear (it is the paint cities use to mark crosswalks and lane lines), and especially with the anti-skid additive, we've seen no evidence of this. Don’t forget that we live in Minnesota and when there is snow or ice on the road, one may slip and/or skid, whether you’re on foot or in a car.
Are kids going to be more drawn to play in the street because of the painted design? We don’t suggest that you paint a hopscotch or a chess board in the intersection! You’ll probably have many kids participate in your painting day, and that is a good time to remind them that they have to be careful when they’re in the street, whether it is playing in or walking across it.
Does it really calm or slow traffic? Folks who live at the painted intersections say that drivers are more observant and cautious, including themselves. Part of this could be because most of the people who drive fast in neighborhoods are the people who live right there -- and if they participate in a PtP project and get to know their neighbors and the kids, they drive more consciously and carefully. It is bad enough to drive into a stranger, even worse if it is your neighbor and friend. A painted pavement, along with any other visual cues (toys, benches, bird feeders) on or along the road, let passers-by know that it is a lived-in neighborhood where folks know each other and might be outside chatting, playing, or gardening at any time -- so they should drive carefully.
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DESIGN and PAINTING LOGISTICS
How do we create and choose a design? See what talent and creativity exists in your fellow neighbors, including children (adults can alway perfect the design). Your project team may decide to hold a friendly competition or come up with a few designs themselves, or ask an artsy neighbor to develop the design from a theme – the key is to make sure everyone feels like they have an opportunity to participate. You might have a meeting where everyone votes on a design, and then discuss and come to a consensus about the colors. The Pascal & Van Buren intersection design was a “doodle” from a neighbor who claims to have not an artsy bone in her body. For information on how to enlarge and paint the design, see: www.cityrepair.ca/database/view.asp?item=doc-041
Can we have words and logos in our design? Words of any kind (even names) are not allowed. Even if you see this at some existing PtP murals, please do not write anything on your design. Corporate logos are not allowed - but if you have a neighborhood mascot or logo, that can be acceptable (again, the City Engineer will decide).
Can our design go up onto the sidewalk or cover manholes? Depends, and yes. The city will review your design and make the final recommendation - generally if the painting is at an intersection, the square area of the sidewalk where the two sidewalks meet is okay - but not along the stretch that abuts the property lines. The design also cannot be continuous from the street up onto the curb - the curb itself must be unpainted (the curb pavement is usually a different material from the street asphalt, so it is easy to see where the design would stop and start). So far no one has needed to paint a manhole, but if you do, we recommend using an appropriate primer…and to be safe, create a design where the manhole cover is a single color (then you don't have to worry that it gets put back in place to match a design).
What kind of paint should we use? In St. Paul, you are required to use an approved traffic marking paint with anti-skid additive. The City Engineer will confirm with you that you have the correct type of paint. Traffic grade paint is much more vibrant and longer-lasting that regular exterior latex anyhow - and it is fast-drying, a boon during your community paint day. The paint only comes in white, red, yellow and blue, but you may mix (note: greens and purples are a little bit "muddy"). If you order your paint at Menards, ask them to pre-mix the anti-skid additive into the paint for you - this will save you a lot of elbow grease AND it is a more thorough mixing.
How do we prepare the street surface? The city will do some sweeping in advance if you request it, but so far only one group has requested this, to mixed results. Generally we think you are best off doing it yourselves. The night beforehand, sweep the area well, and power spray it with water (borrow a power washer). In the morning before drawing the design, sweep it one last time.
How much time do we have to close the streets? The City of St. Paul will give you a permit for 12 hours, which has always been plenty of time for groups to prep, paint, and celebrate. Hope for a dry but not too hot day. Remember to plan ahead to get the barricades and give yourself time to set them up. Also, if you know a gym or drivers education teacher, borrow some orange cones. Even though you will have barricades up, orange cones standing guard and perhaps balloons and streamers, will help ensure that drivers won’t attempt to drive through the intersection. The intersection MUST be accessible by emergency vehicles, so don't use cars or large heavy items. If you are in the Hamline Midway neighborhood, the Hamline Midway Coalition has cones they can lend to you.
How often do we need to repaint? This depends on the energy of your group and neighbors. Every 2 years is nice, and less taxing on everyone than repainting every year. It is MUCH easier the second time around - the design is already on the ground and it takes less paint (the surface is smoother). Retouching probably won't work very well - new paint is a very different color from the worn paint.
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