street paintingCourtesy http://www.apocalipsemotorizado.netThis summer a group of bicycle and pedestrian activists in São Paulo, Brazil, grew tired of waiting on officials to fix the cities famously traffic-clogged streets. Instead they formed an “urban repair squad” and painted unauthorized makeshift crosswalks, bike lanes, and messages such as “Lives: Go Slowly.”

Ballsy. But smart, too — they undertook their improvements during Brazil’s World Cup games, probably the emptiest the streets were in the last four years. They did their biggest job when arch-rival Argentina played Germany, painting large crosswalks at an especially dangerous intersection in front of the botanical garden, Victoria Broadus reports at The City Fix.

São Paulo has some of the most famously traffic-clogged streets in the world, creating the sixth most painful commute anywhere, according to IBM’s Commuter Pain Study. It’s got more private helicopters than any city, for the super-rich to hop from corporate towers to gated estates.

Broadus indentifies a bit of a trend in guerrilla street-fixing:

The do-it-yourself street makeovers are part of a growing worldwide trend to make streets more inviting to walkers and bikers…without waiting on local officials to initiate the work. In New York City, people recently painted  “guerrilla bike lanes” and other street signage in Brooklyn, as Treehugger reported. And in Washington, D.C., street artist Steed Taylor and a group of volunteers gave the District’s downtown Vermont Avenue a “road tattoo,” which BeyondDC described as “an installation of pavement art that makes the space seem even less like a normal street and more a public plaza.” Other “Urban Repair Squads” from Los Angeles to London do their part to fix urban spaces.  So it was only a matter of time before urban activists resorted to painting guerrilla crosswalks like these in Brazil.

street paintingCourtesy http://www.apocalipsemotorizado.neIn case you were wondering (I hope not), guerrilla street-improving is illegal and highly discouraged by this lawyer.

(Hat tip to The City Fix, which provides some great global coverage on urban sustainability.)