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Words Painted On South Loop Crosswalks Puzzle Pedestrians

(CBS) -- From the time we're young, we're told to pay attention when we cross the street. Now a wordy display on a stretch of Roosevelt threatens to distract us all.

CBS 2's Jim Williams had more on the puzzling public art project.

The South Loop has exploded in recent years, with lots of people and lots of cars in the neighborhood. Intersections are jammed and you have to look both ways, but your eyes are drawn to the ground.

In this age of the shrinking attention span with distractions everywhere, add another on the city crosswalks. Random words like as "Drink," "Look," and "Destroy," as many as eight, painted on some crosswalks along Roosevelt in the South Loop.

It's public art, part of the city of Chicago's massive streetscaping project on the road that leads to the Museum Campus and Soldier Field.

Chicago has a long history of public art. Advocates say it enriches the quality life.

"I think it adds some interesting art when you are walking around," said one pedestrian.

But Chicagoan Stephen Boyd insists multiple words have no place on Chicago crosswalks in a neighborhood with heavy traffic.

"It's distracting," Boyd said. "There's going to be an accident any second."

The Chicago Department of Transportation issued a statement saying that the artist is a professor at the Art Institute of Chicago and that he used, "Different words, hundreds of different words to evoke the history of Chicago and the identity of this crossroad in the city.

CBS 2 has asked about the cost of the project, but has not gotten a response.

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