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Dublin to be transformed by traffic art

Dublin City Council (DCC) plans to turn 200 of the capital's traffic light boxes into works of art.

After a successful trial of 11 boxes in the city, DCC is planning to roll out the project across Dublin.

"The council is now looking at how to formalise it as a policy," confirmed Shane Waring of DCC's City Architects division.


There are approximately 800 traffic light boxes across Dublin and the idea to paint them came about because of people "tagging" the grey boxes with graffiti, explained Mr Waring.

Tagging is a hand-style of graffiti writing and every year it costs the council thousands of euro to repaint the grey boxes.

The Beta Projects trialled the artwork-covered boxes over 18 months.

Beta Projects - initiated by Mr Waring - was set up as a way to test new ideas that could potentially improve the capital.

After consulting with stakeholders and measuring various results, it was decided the trial was successful enough to adopt it on a major scale.

The 18-month trial cost €1,067 which 12 artists from Ireland and beyond contributed to.

Included in the cost of the trial were the expenses for supplies for all of the artists.

This week Beta Projects will meet with the artists that took part in the trial and a website, mapping all of the traffic light boxes in the city, will be created.

"The issue was tagging and the solution was artwork," stated Mr Waring, a qualified architect.

Before the 200 boxes are decorated he hopes to trial the idea in various areas of the city - citing examples like Smithfield and Clontarf.

"In Clontarf, the theme could be history and in Smithfield it could be modern as it's an up-and-coming hipster area," said Mr Waring.

However, the project has "not been corporately adopted yet", he added.

The architect began working on Beta Projects in March 2012, and in January 2014, it was formalised as a City Architects' project.


The plan is to engage with the locals in each of the selected areas where traffic light boxes will be painted.

Some of the artists that contributed to the trial stage received more street-art work after their boxes were viewed by the public.

Furthermore, tourists visiting the capital spent time locating the various artwork-covered boxes, as a "quirky attraction", explained Mr Waring.

DCC said that every year more than €350,000 is spent removing graffiti.