These were actually good ideas Caltrans put into action for once. Thorny bushes, vines covering sound walls, etc. Gotta’ give them that much.
Caltrans took a frustrating, seemingly intractable graffiti problem on Interstate 80 in Richmond and appears to be solving it with a creative solution. ChronicleWatch first wrote about this story Oct. 18 after transit officials and Richmond cops had spent months in a frustrating cat-and-mouse game with a group of taggers, who kept spraying obscenities and slurs along an I-80 stretch between the McBryde Avenue off-ramp and the Solano Avenue on-ramp. The taggers were vandalizing the large sound walls so often that they even struck again one night just hours after a Caltrans crew had cleaned off some graffiti. The next morning, thousands of commuters on the westbound freeway saw a new batch of vulgar words in bright yellow paint. But since then we’ve seen improvements and little or no graffiti because Caltrans crews have been cleaning up almost immediately.
As a long-term solution, though, Caltrans has begun planting vines and thorny bushes along the sound wall to make it less tempting for vandals. Once established, the vines will cover most of the wall’s visible surface and will be very difficult to remove by anyone intent on mischief. The thorny bushes also provide a disincentive to vandals, who like to work under cover of darkness.