Thursday, February 02, 2006

Who you gonna call?

So, as I drove north on the 101 today, I saw that the Hollywood Boulevard exit sign was half covered in graffiti. It made me mad because it wasn't the first day it was there, and I knew it would be there for a while before Caltrans cleaned it up. Yes, Caltrans.

Most people - residents and visitors alike - see our City as one... which is a good thing. But when it comes to responsibility, the common perception is that whatever's wrong in the region is "L.A.'s fault."

In this case, though, it's not L.A.'s fault. The City is quite good at removing graffiti from City and private property (with permission) when reported to 3-1-1, the city's all-purpose hotline (usually within 24 to 48 hours). But, Caltrans is the worst when it comes to maintenance. Freeway sound walls (or park walls if you're adjacent to open space like South Weddington Park or North Hollywood Park) are often covered in graffiti that gives the perception that L.A. is a mess. Bad P.R. for us all. The freeway is the truest gateway/ portal to the City, and someone in the City should tell Caltrans to get it together and remove graffiti faster. (And while they're at it, stop clearing away the vines on the walls along the 101 and 110 freeways which creates a palette – there would be less to paint over if there was less available surface.

Now, maybe Caltrans has a plan. Maybe they’re trying to give graffiti artists other locations besides the signature freeway murals to show their skills by leaving blank walls that are highly visible and easily accessible to the graffiti-ists. To see these murals restored and relocated only to be vandalized and left for months without maintenance is a shame and reflects poorly on the City. What would The Freeway Lady think if she were still around?

Caltrans needs to clean up its act and all of our L.A. freeways. They can't continue neglect one of our greatest assets and trademarks: our 101, 110, 105, 405, 10, 5, 2, 60, 710, 605, 118, etc. Good thing they never built that Laurel Canyon Freeway – who knows what it would look like now!


Sahra Bogado said...

I understand the perception of graffiti is a negative one to the typical citizen driving through L.A.

I took a little time, and tried to remember the names with the bet designs and use of color in my neighborhood. Now, I kind of appreciate the work "Ruger" and "Trigz" do on the bridges around the 110 and 5 interchanges. They hang or somehow suspend themeselves 5 or 6 stories above the ground and do some really nice work.

Maybe some training for citizens to read and understand this type of art will go a long way in altering its perception.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ubrayj02. Dont hate, aprecate.