Blasting Paint on Salcedo and Conti

You know how you can see things in a zillion different ways just by shifting your focus? That’s one of my favorite things about perspective; it means I can go the same places over and over again, always seeing something new. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is in town doing an intricate map of the transportation conditions surrounding the proposed Lafitte Corridor greenway, so I hopped on the Surly and pedaled down to Warren Easton to meet up with a group of folks intent on putting our focus on stuff we don’t necessarily normally notice. I was in charge of noting the traffic control signals at two dozen intersections and measuring the width of the sidewalks on each block. This called for a level of attention that I’m just not used to, particularly because bikes travel in the streets. I know my potholes like my own hands, but sidewalks? Totally new. Turns out, folks, they are terrible in much of the Mid-City neighborhood we canvassed. But we’ve got to know these intimate details to figure out what we need (*sending advice to City Council*). B. was in charge of grading crosswalk quality and noting the presence, but mostly absence, of directional signage. E. was in charge of noting and assessing bike racks (not many). L. graded the quality of the sidewalks I’d measured. We each surely had a very different experience of the exact same environment, all seeing mostly just what we were assigned to see. We ended our afternoon at Salcedo and Conti, where I looked up from the sidewalk and saw this guy, surely boiling inside that yellow suit, blasting the paint off a corrugated metal building. His focus was on something completely different. Yep, lots and lots of ways to see.

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