Soup and sandwich, horse and carriage, love and marriage – and, now – fire hydrants and traffic barriers (and one circle).
Starting with fire hydrants, here are four functioning hydrants that have been painted by artists of a quirky persuasion:
And while on the subject of fire hydrants, here are three non-functioning hydrants that have been repurposed as lawn art. Why not?
And then there are the traffic barriers. Our city planners love them. They engineer traffic like nobody’s business. They have been doing it for 40 years. They call it traffic calming.
You may read about it here:
At the risk of appearing to speak for the entire City, we are not fond of them, or of all the one-way engineering. And I don’t like the term “traffic calming” one little bit.
But that’s not the point. The point is that at a number of traffic barriered intersections, our fellow citizens have spruced up the barriers with paint and mosaics.
At Delaware and Grant:
At Ashby and Fulton:
At California and Harmon:
At California and Alcatraz:
Lisa Bullwinkel explained the genesis of the tiled barriers; “I work at home out of a little yellow house at Fulton and Ashby and spend a lot of time doing business on the phone staring out my front window. The barricades were always full of graffiti and we were constantly painting them. I’ve done other public art projects while I was the Exec. Director of the Solano Ave. Assn. including the art banners on Solano and a tile project in Peralta Park. Why not do one in my own front yard? So I asked my husband, Tim Volz, who is a tile contractor, that if I got the neighborhood to save their broken plates and shards, if he would give us the expertise and materials to make an art project out of the barricades. For four Sundays in 2008 I set up tables in the street and we made templates out of cardboard for the ‘legs’ of the barricades. People could work on the tables on the cardboard and design their art, then they could adhere it to the leg of the barricade and then grout it. We spanned the whole age range with a 5-year old and an 80-year old participating — the whole neighborhood came out to play. And guess what? No more graffiti! Now we have 28 original pieces of art that include a neuron, a clown, a fish, and a hidden message.” She sent a couple nice photos that I add here:
And lastly – for the barriers – at Bancroft and 7th:
The final act breaks the pattern (monotony?) of the mosaic traffic barriers. The traffic calming circle at California and Tyler is planted in a lovely fashion and features this automotive art:
I showed the photos to my friend, thinking that he would be amused by the intricacies of the mosaic work and the bright sheen of several of the fire hydrants. I did not foresee he fact that he was immersed in the art of the Strawberry Alarm Clock. The art associated with them left these poor traffic barriers in the dust.
Wow! He asked if I knew that the band had played in the cult Beyond the Valley of the Dolls by Russ Meyers.
I did not know that. But what I really wanted to know is what he thought about the fire hydrants and traffic-calming barriers.