Monday, December 11, 2006

Traffic Art

A piece of traffic-calming art in Cambridge by 70-year-old Wen-ti Tsen was among the ideas celebrated in the New York Times Magazine annual Year in Ideas issue (subscription required). The Globe had a piece about it in August.

Cambridge didn't want to/couldn't spend the money to do any physical traffic calming at a problem intersection, so they decided to spend relatively short money ($10K) on a mural to see if it would slow traffic.

I could find no picture to upload. The illustration in the print version is not online. Here's the satellite view of the intersection. The satellite photo appears to predate the mural.

I'm skeptical that the mural will have any long-term effect once the novelty wears off. But, I love the idea of using our vast expanses of macadam as canvases for public art.

Not everyone is so fond of the work. The traffic circle mural was a victim of what looks like a pattern of vandalism against public art.

This reminds me of something that I saw on the big E a few years ago. A guerrilla artist with the street name of Roadwork did some less-sanctioned work in Montreal:

More Roadwork pictures here, here, here, and here.

Apparently, Roadwork eventually got in trouble with the local constabulatory and was charged. He had to do public service hours, which he fulfilled making a sanctioned work.

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