ONE THING THAT YOU CAN ALWAYS count on Mayor Christy Weir for is an eye for the aesthetics of her city. Since initiating her "Beautify Ventura" award several months ago, she has honored a citizen or business every month who has contributed to the attractiveness of our surroundings.
So that graffiti-covered atrocity of a train bridge over the 101 Downtown has been on our mayor's hit list for a long time. It's one of my pet peeves, too, as I reported in an earlier entry.
"It's such an eyesore," Weir said. "And because of its prominent location, people
traveling on the freeway identify it with Ventura, which isn't good for business."
So recently Weir went to Assembly member Pedro Nava and asked for assistance. Nava in turn wrote a letter to CalTrans. And slowly the wheels of change are grinding along.
There's been lots of finger pointing going on between the City, CalTrans and Union Pacific over who is actually responsible for this unwelcome mat to our city. "Both CalTrans and Union Pacific could not agree up until almost a month ago," explained Jerry Breiner of the Downtown Ventura Organization. "Finally CalTrans took the ownership of the maintenance."
The goal is to not just paint the bridge, but prevent future graffiti with increased security, fencing, and perhaps lights and cameras, Weir said.
The Downtown Ventura Organization has even grander ideas, Breiner said. "There has been much talk from the Downtown community to do something special there, to make it a true gateway with something other than silver paint. Public Art could get involved: pretty much anyone other than CalTrans painting it would be great."
In the mean time, if you know of an uglier bridge anywhere in the world, please send me a photo. I'll post it.