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Eyes on the Street: Renewing a Symbol of a San Francisco Community

Volunteers cleaned up the Duboce bike mural on Saturday. Photo: SFBC/Melyssa Mendoza

On Saturday, twenty volunteers helped a San Francisco Bicycle Coalition effort to clean and renew the mural behind the Duboce Triangle Safeway, along the bike path between Market and Church Streets.

From the Bike Coalition's call for volunteers:

In 1996, longtime member and SF Bicycle Coalition leader Joel Pomerantz invited Mona Caron, a young artist still in school, to be the lead artist for the Duboce Bikeway Mural. Two years later, powered by countless volunteer hours, the mural was unveiled on Nov. 21, 1998. Nearly two decades later, this beloved piece of biking history creatively expressing the freedom and imagination of biking from the Bay to the beach needs your help. Along with Joel, the Castro Community Benefits District and local community members, we’re inviting you to join in a clean-up day to refresh the mural.

"Volunteers initially were scraping off paint or using a water-based solvent to wipe off spray paint," wrote Melyssa Mendoza, Bicycle Advisory Committee representative for District Five, in an email to Streetsblog. They cleaned off various marks, scuffs, and graffiti. They even had to scrape off "red latex paint that someone had splashed on the wall." Fortunately, the mural is coated in a clear protective varnish, which makes it possible to clean off graffiti. However, Mendoza explained that the varnish is old and isn't as effective as it once was. In a few places some spots of the mural were scraped down to the stucco by a previous cleanup attempt, "revealing the side of the building underneath." She said at some point a more comprehensive rehab will be required.

Volunteers scraped and scrubbed in the rain Saturday morning and early afternoon. Photo: SFBC/Melyssa Mendoza
Volunteers scraped and scrubbed in the rain Saturday morning and early afternoon. Photo: SFBC/Melyssa Mendoza

From Streetsblog's perspective, this cleanup really helped--and the effort shouldn't be overlooked. It's important not only to lobby to expand the bicycle network, but also to maintain the symbols that inspire people to keep at it. "Some of the volunteers were involved in the initial efforts of getting the mural up. There were lots of people who walked by and thanked the volunteers. The drizzle might have prevented some people from coming out, but there were certainly enough volunteers to get a lot of writing removed," concluded Mendoza.

When the work was complete, Streetsblog snapped a few pics as the rains stopped and blue skies illuminated Caron's mural in all its glory, with its depictions of neighborhoods, a Muni train, Golden Gate Park, and a bike ride to the Pacific Ocean. More pics of the rejuvenated mural below:

A car-free mural for a car-free section of path. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
The mural celebrates all of San Francisco's residents, including the stinkiest ones. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
The mural celebrates all of Golden Gate Park's residents, including the stinkiest ones, as seen in the top right corner. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
At the end of the mural, and at the very end of the bike route, waits the Pacific Ocean. And motorists, please don't drive into the subway tunnel. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
At the end of the mural, and at the very end of the bike route, waits the Pacific Ocean. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

Meanwhile, some other good news from over the weekend: the McClaren Park protected bike and pedestrian path finally had its opening ceremony, which was delayed by this winter's storms. Wouldn't it be nice if every weekend there was an opening of a protected bike lane to report?

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