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USA, San Francisco, StreetArt : bikeway mural


The Bikeway mural by Mona Caron


"The mural celebrates and enriches the car-free public space created by the new Duboce Avenue Bikeway-the first time cars have been excluded from a San Francisco street to make room for bikes and pedestrians. The mural emphasizes the special role in the city of the bikeway itself: At the center of the block long, 6,075 square foot mural is a depiction of the bikeway itself, (complete with its mural,) in geographic and historical context along the ancient streambed which cyclists follow to avoid hills. (The zig-zagging route is now known as "the Wiggle.") To the east of the Wiggle is Downtown, to the West, residential neighborhoods, Golden Gate Park and, finally, the beach.


The mural extols the joys of bicycling, walking, skating etc, but it also alludes to the political and ecological implications of choosing to get around by non polluting, low budget means: Towards the west (right) end of the mural, a close up view of the ground, where plants and the footprints of animals mingle with a bike track, symbolizes the closer connection to, awareness of, and low impact on nature that such a choice brings.


At the east end of the wall (downtown), Market Street's bicycles are seen transforming into pedal-powered flying machines which rise out of the morass of pollution and gridlock. The scene alludes to the subversive nature of Critical Mass in particular, and generally symbolizes the freedom experienced by those with visions of alternatives to the status quo, represented in the mural by frowning corporate skyscrapers. Each of the flying contraptions trails its pilot's dream of utopia in the form of a golden banner. The whole rest of the mural, westwards from this scene, starts in the shape of one of these golden banners, suggesting that this mural depicts just one of many ideas that make up our collective vision. Ours happens to deal with the issue of transportation, and the City depicted in the rest of the mural is a traffic and pollution free one, where the community takes back the space which now fragments it: the street."

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Taken on January 11, 2011