Ísafjörður – VIJAY SHAH via Bored Panda
The first zebra crossings appeared on the streets of the United Kingdom in 1949, where they were introduced on a trial basis at 1,000 different locations. Originally, they were anything but zebra-like, being kitted out in blue and yellow alternating stripes, before the current standard was adopted a couple of years later.
These days, in much of the world, zebra crossings are an important feature in both road safety and pedestrian locomotion, but have always stuck out as rather mundane. A line of black and white stripes is not much of a crowd pleaser when you look at it. The only time zebra crossings became famous was the Abbey Lane crossing in London, which was immortalised on the front cover of the ‘Abbey Road’ album released by The Beatles in 1969. That humble north London road feature was catapulted to fame, much like the band themselves, and is still a tourist attraction.
That is until today. In 2017 a small Icelandic town decided to install a zebra crossing, mainly to keep the brakes on speeding drivers passing through the area. Ísafjörður, a fishing community in the north-west of the island, however was not interested in the bog-standard black-and-white flat road markings zebras normally use. Being Scandinavians and talented at combining function and design, the town council instead opted to create a roadside optical illusion, as beautiful as it is functional.
They painted a line of 3D stripes across the road, and using shadows, the painted stripes resemble solid rectangular white blocks that look like they are floating above the ground. This exciting development in road safety is not just aesthetically pleasing. It also gives pedestrians the feeling of floating on air as they cross the street and drivers are so entranced by the floating stripes they have to slow down to take the peculiar sight in. It is a win-win for everyone.
The 3D crossing was designed as an art installation by street painting company Vegmálun GÍH, who were requested for assistance by Icelandic environmental commissioner Ralf Trylla. Trylla drew inspiration from similar road crossings in New Delhi, India, produced by the city’s New Delhi Municipal Council, albeit with yellow ‘blocks’. The Delhiite crossings proved so successful that the council there plans to paint forty more of them. Similar crossings have also been installed in China and the Republic of Ireland.
You can see specially commissioned photographs of the Iceland 3D zebra crossing by Ágúst G. Atlason of Gústi Productions in the article by Bored Panda, which originally covered this feature, in the Sources section below. You can also see the crossing in action with the mini-documentary featured with this article.
“Town in Iceland Paints 3D Zebra Crosswalk To Slow Down Speeding Cars” – Stella, boredpanda (Bored Panda) https://www.boredpanda.com/3d-pedestrian-crossing-island/?utm_source=&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=organic
“Town in Iceland Paints 3D Zebra Crosswalk To Slow Down Speeding Cars” –
Odomihoc Irepo/What’s Up?, YouTube GB (27 October 2017) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6st0j_gl-o