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Freshly Laid Curbstone In Madison Spray Painted By Workers

August 16, 2016

UPDATE:  A short time ago in response to my concerns Capitol Underground reached out to me and offered the following information.  “The paint we use (we use this on virtually all of our projects) is water soluble, and will be gone without a trace within a couple of weeks.  By the time we are done with the project, you won’t ever know the markings were there.”  

Throughout the summer I have heard people talk about their special assessments for the Jennifer Street reconstruction project.  Some of the bills range into the many thousands of dollars.  While I know the infrastructure needs require the work to be done, (and I have always strongly supported this project) I did see something today that made me pause.

Last week all new cement curb was poured along Paterson Street.  It looks fresh and clean.  Today many driveway aprons were poured and they too look perfect.  But then a worker came along today with a spray can and every few feet on the new curb painted a number that denotes something for some other construction worker to spot.  To be clear none of the spray painting took place on the aprons.


I asked a city employee about the reason for the spray painted numbers and she was not exactly sure.  She told me they could not paint the numbers on the road as it would wash away.  When I asked if the paint was water soluble on the curb she said no.  When I asked how long the paint would remain on the curb she told me with more hope in her voice then any firm conviction that “next year you probably will not even see it.”  Well that is just grand.


What truly baffled me was why near the area where a dip down to the sidewalk would take place and many eyes would focus there was a large painted reminder for some other worker to notice so to do anther part of this project.   On the exact opposite side of the street is another large painted reminder.  I get the need for the project to have notifications so that the work can progress smoothly.  But I also know that there are many folks who feel the assessments were high and now wonder why they are paying for new curbstone that is already defaced.

There surely must be some other means for the construction crew to be reminded of the data they need to do their job.  Spray painting on freshly laid curb makes it look shabby.   Homeowners who care about their property and the way their neighborhood is presented have a right to say something about this matter.

  1. August 17, 2016 9:31 AM

    Maybe the city needs a little better training of its work force. She should have known that about the paint

  2. Pablo PiccasSolly permalink
    August 16, 2016 6:14 PM

    Silly wabbit, read your newsletters! This “obviously” is a continuation of the Marquette Neighborhood “Art” Initiative, as described in the WillyStreetBlog several years back. “The project is coming to Madison as part of the Marquette Neighborhood Association’s (MNA) ongoing Arts Initiative which has, along with the City of Madison and other benefactors, sponsored several unique projects known as the Public Art Concept, with a goal of placing art in different forms along Williamson Street.

    The initiative, which began with Poetry in Sidewalks, is nearing a crescendo as the Williamson Gateway Sculpture will likely be in place this month.” Art is in the eye of the beholder………personally I see the orange petroglyphs as a comment on Hillary’s right arrow logo and the bold Arabic numerals remind me of the progress of humanity, joined by the period, symbolizing our mother earth. I suppose it could be worse, the UW student who got off scott-free via Ozanne for $4,000 in campus damage and threatening to kill someone who tried to stop him could have written “White privilege = racism” up and down the street. But look on the bright side, since the city is involved, you can be pretty sure the street will be ripped up again next year for something else, a la East Johnson and East Wash. The Planning Dept. is to control the private sector to keep those dastardly sandwich board signs off our streets and sidewalks.

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