Our friends in unincorporated Castro Valley in Alameda County continue to make progress at getting some respect for their community. Readers of this blog may recall our article last year about how Castro Valley has worked with Caltrans to try to get a freeway sign that says "Castro Valley". Our post asked if Arden Arcade should also strive for identification by Caltrans. Though our local freeway signs help motorists find places like Carmichael or Carrington College, none of our 9 freeway ramps have way-finding information for "Arden Arcade".
Now Castro Valley is looking at funding from the Alameda Arts Commission for art on freeway overpasses and retaining walls to help strengthen the community's identity, being one of three projects in Alameda County unincorporated areas to be completed by 2018. It turns out that Caltrans is open to letting its freeway structures be used for public art to assist community identification efforts. If you look around our region, you can see the concept at work: Elk Grove has Elk Grove-themed freeway sculptures, Modesto has an arch, Carmichael has a large mural-in-the-park, and even Rio Linda has a 4-way arch at one of its central intersections. Arden Arcade has some bird sculptures imbedded in some of the anti-panhandling fences on Watt at El Camino. But those works of art are in the middle of our community. What about our gateways? Only one freeway entrance -- Fulton Avenue -- is marked now. It is good to promote the businesses on Fulton Avenue, to be sure. But what about the rest of the community? Should there be some public art works identifying our community at all or some of the Arden Arcade freeway connections or other key locations? Should Sacramento County's public arts money target places other than the airport?
"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.The Community Identifier Projects involve designing and painting the name of the community along with other design elements on freeway overpasses in three unincorporated communities of Alameda County. The overall goal is to create community gateway markers that help support a positive and welcoming environment for both the community and visitors."Alameda County Arts Commission announcement for Community Identifier projects in Unincorporated Alameda County - Castro Valley, San Lorenzo, & Ashland/Cherryland