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Posts from the Mona Caron Category


For a City of Panhandles! Copenhagenize it!

city_living.jpgMona Caron's rendition of 24th and Folsom after we've made a few basic changes.  (Thanks to Mona Caron for this image, originally published in the Bay Guardian in 2006.)

We’ve been waiting for years now to see some physical changes to accommodate the huge increase in daily bicycling. We did get an odd set of painted bike lanes and green bike route signs, and a significant number of bike racks for parking, before it all came to a halt due to the injunction three years ago. After perusing the much-anticipated Draft Bicycle Plan and its dense bureaucratese, full of overlapping redundant promises, I’m afraid we’ll be waiting a good while longer to see the kinds of changes that we ought to be getting.

It’s really hard to believe that after all this organizing and earnest campaigning we’ll basically end up with a few thousand “sharrows” and another batch of partial, end-in-the-middle-of-nowhere bike lanes, lanes which in any case are horribly inadequate patches on our misallocated and car-centric public streets. How is it that after almost two decades of rapidly expanding bicycling, the city’s transit priorities still treat bicycles as an annoyance that they only grudgingly are willing to accommodate? When will there be a systematic commitment to altering the streets of this city to create dedicated bikeways, separated from cars and pedestrians, comprehensively linked to provide for easy, graceful, convivial bicycling to all parts of the city?

Over at the blog Copenhaganize their basic point is summarized in two short sentences:

Each and every day 500,000 people ride their bicycle to work or school in Copenhagen. This blog highlights who they are, why they do and how it was made possible.

Forty years ago Copenhagen was just as car-clogged as anywhere else but now 36% of the population choose the bicycle. Copehagenizing is possible anywhere.
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The Slow, Beautiful Road to Community on the Streets

mona_contemplates_7849.jpgMona Caron contemplates her next stroke on her new mural at Jones and Golden Gate in San Francisco.

Mona Caron is a visual troubadour of street life in San Francisco. Her murals have become increasingly famous in their gorgeous detail, portraying San Francisco’s romantic past juxtaposed to inspired visions of its future. Equally powerful is the way each mural itself comes to anchor new public space, an open-air gallery where people meet and discuss, sharing ideas often growing from the rich street life she portrays in her murals.

I spoke with Mona on the top of her scaffolding cladding the current project at Jones and Golden Gate in San Francisco’s Tenderloin. Like her previous murals, this one too is “about the life in the streets, and the architecture around the streets and how that’s changed with the population.” Her earliest work is the 300-foot long Duboce Bikeway mural, which depicts the path a bicyclist must follow from the foot of Market, through the “wiggle” (the much-loved path that cyclists follow from mid-Market to the Haight) and out to the beach. In its phantasmagorical vision of the city, echoes of past and an imaginary future overlap in the scuttling of bugs, on the back of a giant snake, and in a long-forgotten creek that underlies the gradually rising bike route.

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A New Mural in the Tenderloin

2nd_square_from_left_frm_St_Boniface_bell_tower_n514620094_2020092_5404357.jpgThe mural is being painted on the white building in the second square from left, as seen from the Bell Tower atop St. Boniface Church on Golden Gate. (Photo LisaRuth Elliott)

A new mural is taking shape in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, at the corner of Jones and Golden Gate, diagonally across from St. Anthony’s Dining Room where hundreds line up every day for a hot meal. Muralist Mona Caron and Project Manager LisaRuth Elliott can be found on scaffolds these days, grabbing the good weather when they can to paint on a nondescript building housing a local “sewing company.” In this first of two parts, I talked with LisaRuth Elliott about her experience with the street scene in the Tenderloin. In part two, I’ll explore Mona Caron’s murals from her well-known Bike Mural on Duboce and the Market Street Railway mural on Church, to her recent Noe Valley diptych, all of which make streets and transit central themes.

good_shot_of_st_anthonys_and_jones_street_from_inside_scaffolding_n1273193655_30293308_3104437.jpgFrom inside the scaffolding, St. Anthony's is diagonally across to the right, Jones Street flows below.