Street painting in Woodpark

On the “far” west side, at the intersection of Flower and Ancaster, Ottawa’s blah streets got their second makeover, this time by the folks at Woodpark (opposite the Library branch at Carlingwood).

The City approved 3 street painting projects for this year. We earlier looked at the one near Elmdale School

The intersection is nicely framed by painted crosswalks. The flower design grows out of a seedbed on the north side of the intersection. A great many residents came out to help with the painting Saturday.



The paint is the special “long lasting” striping paint used by city road crews. The residents had to buy the paint, and get it tinted to the desired colours. They also had to estimate the quantities required, and not run short. There is a city grant of $2500 for supplies and fees. In this case, a local artist supplied the design gratis.

Several local residents worked up suggested paint schemes. Organizers have to get the adjacent residents to agree to the painting AND the design.  In this case, there were no Grinches. They also have to promise to “touch up” the paint next year where it gets scraped off by snowplows.



The City takes a list of 3 desired locations and selects one. Maintenance crews come out to refresh the crosswalks and do some very smooth asphalt patches where required. They also supplied road barriers to close the street until 11pm when the paint is deemed to be sufficiently dry.  Painters were surprised that a few motorists during the day took considerable umbrage that kids and families might be out doing something to their street. But the vast majority of people stopped to chat and praise the work.

Politicians came by, of course. Mayor Watson lives nearby, and Bay Councillor Mark Taylor showed up for some gladhanding and photo ops, but not on-your-knees painting.

Three of the organizers, Tanya, Jen, and Naomi were guarding the scene of the art at 7pm. A block later we met a “refreshment squad” with red wine [for the adults] en route to the intersection.


The city’s Neighbourhood Connection office administers the program. There will be one more project this fall, in Lowertown. The City also approves the design, ensuring it doesn’t “confuse” motorists; this is one of the specific objectives for European painted intersections or streets. Consider this one in Switzerland:


Confusion and uncertainty slows down motorists. Clear, wide open streets promote speeding. We seem to have a hard time absorbing this in Ottawa.

Here is a mandala painted in Portland, Oregon [note the corner barrels, planted, adding a third dimension to the project]: