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DIY Street Departments

DIY projects don't always involve paint. A statement can be done with signage as well. (photo by Sean Bonner)

In December, we posted the video of a DIY department in New York City painting 14 blocks of bike lane. As expected, guerrilla street work is not not confined to NY.

LA StreetsBLOG highlighted some recent DIY sharrows in Los Angeles. Toronto has it’s active Urban Repair Squad. And, a mystery crosswalk was covered by Bike Portland before the New Year. Of course, all large cities with active pedestrian and bicycle advocates.

The actions are certainly illegal and the anonymity of large urban centers certainly helps. How effective could they be in smaller towns like Traverse City?

There’s an argument to be made that DIY projects are potentially counter-productive. That may be true if its the first attempt to address an issue, but what if its been the same question for 20 to 30 years?  “Paint Your Lane” by Dan Koeppel explored these questions in Bicycling magazine last year. The author explains one rationale for a DIY project:

“The renegade bike-lane crew knows that their project will be more symbolic than practical—and definitely temporary. They expect the lane to be noticed and erased within days. But they hope that within that time it will create a controversy that lives on well after the stripe is removed.”

Once problems have been located & expressed to city and county governments, how much time is reasonable to expect results?

Is there room for a DIY Street Department in your neighborhood?

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