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Would love to hear thoughts on ways to make this underpass an interesting public space.
what about if neighbors could donate a flower pot or two, and line them up along the inside edge? plants that don't require a ton of sunlight? it would be cool to have all different shapes and sizes. i think if there was a critical mass of pots, theft would be less likely.
or some of the pots could have pinwheels in them, since its always windy under overpasses...
or we could plant some ivy at the very edges, with the eventuality of it growing to cover some of the grey space. it would take several seasons, but it would spread, as long as we hung something for it to attach to...
I don't think we should be thinking of every place that is public as a "public space" ...one that is worthy of eventfulness or time spent.
The state won't allow any permanent construction because it will interfere with periodic renovation and they probably avoid painting abutments because once you paint, you have to repaint again and again. You could do something temporary like a farmers market or fair but its a very noisy place and the acoustics stink...and theres little light, so why would you?
The inverse analog of this is NYC's high line, which is only cool because it does exactly the opposite of what ANONYMOUS is suggestion and gets people out of the street caverns into daylight and above the street noise.
For the record, a long long time ago, I used to walk to work alone through this place on Chapel on cold dark days and when New Haven was a much more violent place and it wasn't fun. Even though New Haven is a lot safer today, this place remains a bad place because thats the nature of it.
I walk/run every morning and most days my route takes me under this godforsaken underpass.
It literally divides the haves and the have-nots, with Wooster Square happily on one side and then the Franklin Street Projects, the homeless shelters and the many vacant buildings on the other.
For the folks who live in Franklin Street, it's a middle finger every time they want to walk downtown they have to walk through a glass-strewn, pigeon pooped dark cave to get to the "nice" section of town.
My ideas are straightforward and simple-
First- LIGHTING. Light the heck out of the underpasses. Nighttime AND daytime. Seriously, it will be worth the cost. since rather than tunnels you'll actually be able to see where you are going.
Second KEEP IT CLEAN. This section, because it's dark and gross, motivates people to treat it like its dark and gross, so there are dozens of smashed bottles, and a load of bird poop due to the pigeons that nest there.
Third- if at all possible- SOUND INSULATION. What makes these underpasses miserable is that they are so loud! You can't hold a conversation while walking, and it's as if you have entered an arena when you cross into them.
Sound insulating panels could be bolted onto the girders and reduce the volume of traffic significantly.
Those three things would be inexpensive, wouldn't harm the bridge in any way, and would actually make this section much more pleasant to cross under.
The city is looking to form a redevelopment plan for this area, but I really think that this overpass should be fixed sooner rather than later.
If you guys knew what this area used to be before the highway, you would be orders of magnitude more shocked at how terrible it is now. The attached picture is looking up Grand Avenue and Franklin right next to where this overpass is in 1926. Not a single structure remains from this picture. It was replaced with Ferarros and a few other industrial buildings.
You’re talking about a 60’ wide, 250’ long, 15’ tall space. That’s 15,000 square feet of ground space bracketed by 7,500 square feet of wall surface with probably something like 10,000 square feet of ceiling. You could fit two and a half basketball courts in there.
Local artists, plenty of light and regular cleaning (of the roadway) by those of us interested in the project.
Pictured entrance to Krog St Bridge underpass, Cabbagetown, Atlanta, GA
Joe and Suzy Six Pack don't identify with indiscriminate graffiti as art (I'm sorry to say.) But that doesn't mean it isn't possible. Arts Council has done it. Ideat Village has done it. Cafe Nine and Rob Greenberg did it. Katro Storm has done it.
There is a romantic school of thought that graffiti should be renegade and violate boundaries (which probably isn't going to fly with the state since they have to manage the bridges) and there is another school of thought that graffiti should just go where it can be seen (as every artist wants.)
If a very discreet ribbon of sacrificial paint (to mollify the state) were created on the walls and graffiti artists were allowed in to do what they will in this area it could be cool. I think some lighting would be key so the space doesn’t feel unattended but rather than trying to light the whole space, one could just put some periodic floods on the walls to attract your eyes to the edges of the space.
Even modest lighting could easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars. It might be a more realistic goal to raise funds for the sacrificial base paint (guessing artists will probably bring their own spray?). A 10' tall ribbon over the entire length of both walls would be about 5,000 sf of area and you would need probably about 30 gallons of paint for 2 coats. The sacrificial paints can be on the expensive side (@$50-100/gallon) so you might need to raise @ $2,500.
Where is this underpass??? It doesn't say.
I like it -- it has gotten to the point where the graffiti is at critical fill-in, which makes it start to be truly appealing.
I think incorporating the existing graffiti would be a good solution. Paint the top of the overpass a true Robin's Egg Blue. Bring it down the sides just some - to smudged, end, sort of a fade out, jagged edged.
Leave some raw concrete to evoke a sense of void or nice cool pool of shadow to viewers.
Then, put down the brush and walk away - resist temptation to fiddle with everything.
The artists enaged on this should be abstract minimalists to complement the busy graffiti, not respresentational artists.
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