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Turtle murals to help slow down traffic in Manitou Springs

MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Artists are painting turtles on El Paso Boulevard and Washington Ave. in Manitou Springs in an effort to slow down traffic near the crosswalk.

The “Turtle Crossing” Street Safety Pilot Project Mural Installation is going on until Friday, October 8. As part of #ArtsOctober, local artists are coming together to paint a family of giant, colorful turtles on El Paso Blvd. The pilot project, which is funded by Smokebrush Foundation, will create a street safety mural that will allow the City of Manitou Springs to test the effectiveness of this treatment to improve stop sign compliance and slow traffic near important crosswalks.

According to residents, there have been at least 12 motor collisions with bikes in the past six years and it's often known as a busy street where many tend to forget to slow down.

Kat Tudor is the creative director of the Smokebrush Foundation, which is funding this pilot project. Tudor is also the owner of SunWater Spa, which is located on El Paso Blvd., so she often sees the madness of this traffic.

"Just a confluence of people coming or going and not paying attention to stops signs or pedestrians or bicyclists," said Tudor.

According to the Smokehouse Foundation in similar projects around the country, cities have seen up to a 60% improvement in stop sign and speed limit compliance.

"We've seen a lot of crashes here over the years so it is definitely an area that needs this a lot," added Tudor.

Something local artist Manu Pulido is has also seen in his personal life and the reason why he has decided to leave his mark on this street after seeing some of his friends suffer some of the consequences.

"I have two friends that I know of, one of them was on a bike and some young guys were racing down the street and it barely touched him, but he broke a couple of ribs and so it happens, it is kind of the artist's way to figure out a solution for a problem," said Pulido.

There are over 40 turtles being painted across the street and each of them with a unique story, but with the same purpose.

For artist Mani Pulido, his turtle represents something near and dear to his heart.

"It represents the Native American women that have been abducted and try to show that more people are out there and I hope that when somebody sees it they understand what we are trying to relay," added Pulido.

So next time you're cruising through El Paso Blvd., residents are hoping the turtles remind you to slow down.

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Jasmine Arenas


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