Local Politics

More on the WL Signage Wars

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In 2013, I interviewed Peter Bunder and Eddie VanBogaert on the WL signage wars. City government threatened to crack down on local property managers for increasingly putting up larger and larger signage in student neighborhoods that did not adhere to zoning laws, further exacerbating the tensions between local government, the campus neighborhood associations, and landlords. When Granite Management, a sizable rental company whose logo is a banana, painted a huge banana on the side of a house on a prominent campus corner, they denied it was branding, marketing, or advertising. “It’s just a banana,” they said. Other folks claimed it was art, or made the case for a political statement. Debate ensued.

Who’s that girl on Meridian Street?

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My neighbors and I were profiled in the Journal & Courier today for our creative  attempts to slow traffic on our crash-prone street:

The idea came on June 27, as wreckers worked for nearly three hours to pull out a car wedged into the trees in Breschinsky’s yard. No one was hurt in the crash. But the driver missed the turn and took down two trees planted 20 years ago, in part, to protect the house from this very situation.

As neighbors gathered to watch the operation that day, they compared notes about crashes, big and small, and close calls. They decided, as Breschinsky said, “Enough was enough. We need a statement.”

Lauren Bruce lives across Meridian Street from Breschinsky. She said the last straw for her was nearly being hit as a car buzzed within inches of her bike — along with the trailer hauling her preschool daughter — as she signaled to turn into her driveway.

Bruce said she spoke with friends from Bicycle Lafayette, who have been working on several traffic-calming initiatives and displays — most recently getting riders to do all-day loops on Harrison Bridge and on 18th Street, after car-vs.-bike crashes in each place.

“What we came up with is, basically, the best way to slow traffic is to put something in the road,” Bruce said. “We were joking: You know, what if we get signs that look like little kids running into the street. I said, ‘I can do that.’ ”

Thanks to my friends at Bicycle Lafayette and MadMen Creative for enabling my civil disobedience.

I Wrote a Thing: Banana House

The aptly named "banana house."
The aptly named “banana house.”

For Think Lafayette, I wrote a quick post outlining the issues with city code, tensions between gov’t officials, city codes, landlords, and homeowners in West Lafayette near Purdue campus. The latest controversy is related to a rental house near campus with a huge banana painted on the side. At issue: the city told the landlords to knock it off with the signs already, and in response a local property management agency responded with a billboard of their banana logo painted on a house on a prominent campus corner. “It’s just a banana,” they said. What went unsaid: “Fight me.”

While I think their defense is total crap, as an art and antiques enthusiast, I also have a soft spot for creative advertising, hand-painted signage, and local history. On the question of whether signage can be art, I encourage anyone to take a stroll down a historic main street or local antique mall and get back with me. Either way, this is definitely one for local lore.

I kind of like it.