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Youth Artists to Paint Vision Zero Mural Outside of Park Slope Storefront

 Groundswell will paint Vision Zero themed mural on the side of Miti Miti Taperia on Fifth Avenue.
Park Slope Getting Vision Zero Mural
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PARK SLOPE — A mud-colored wall on Fifth Avenue will be transformed into a colorful reminder about street safety this summer.

The public art group Groundswell will paint a mural with the theme of Mayor Bill de Blasio's pedestrian safety mission Vision Zero on the outside of 138 Fifth Ave. near St. John's Place, officials announced Wednesday.

Youth artists with Groundswell presented a final draft of the mural's design to community members at the site on Wednesday and expect to start work on the painting next week.

"We get the best of both worlds — we get a beautiful work of art and an important reminder to be safe,” said Mark Caserta, executive director of Park Slope Fifth Avenue BID.

Caserta approached Groundswell about painting the drab wall at the suggestion of the owners of Miti Miti Taperia, the restaurant on the building's ground floor.

The final design is still being worked out, but the picture will most likely show people crossing a busy intersection, a driver looking at his cell phone, a 25 mph speed limit sign, and other images related to street safety.

The painting will also reference the "ghost bike" on Fifth Avenue and Prospect Place that marks the spot where cyclist Elizabeth Padilla was killed in 2005. It was the first street memorial of its kind in New York, according to GhostBikes.org.

A decade later, street safety has become a citywide movement that Mayor Bill de Blasio embraced with the Vision Zero initiative, which aims to slash pedestrian fatalities to zero. The city's Department of Transportation partnered with Groundswell to help pay for the mural, Groundswell spokeswoman Ariel Estrella said.

The painting is one of seven murals Groundswell will create this summer with the help of teams of painters who range in age from 14 to 24. Each mural has a different theme. Others include a mural on the relationship between police and young men of color and environmental stewardship. The young artists research each mural's topic, then help design the painting.

The mural at 138 Fifth Ave. will be unveiled at a public dedication ceremony on Aug. 28.

“By creating this mural, we want to start to create change," said Davin Collins, a 19-year-old artist who will be working on the Vision Zero mural. "Our goal isn't just to reduce traffic fatalities, our goal is to eliminate them. It’s really a problem for New York."

A DOT spokesman said the agency is "proud" to work with Groundswell on the wall art.

“In order to change the rate of traffic fatalities and injuries on our streets, it is important that there is a shift in culture and all road users share the street respectfully,” the spokesman said. “This mural implores drivers to operate their vehicles with caution and focus.”