Ross: Seattle freeways need better graffiti, not less

Feb 18, 2022, 7:15 AM | Updated: 9:24 am
Graffiti on I-5. (KIRO Radio, Chris Sullivan)
(KIRO Radio, Chris Sullivan)

Now that I’m driving to work again, I am noticing a lot of graffiti that wasn’t there before. I also saw cleanup crews painting over some of it last weekend.

I will say, I was very happy to see that. They were painting over that really lazy splatter graffiti, which frankly should embarrass whoever did it. There’s nothing worse than a lazy vandal, especially when we have too many talented ones!

I saw two very well-done graffitos on I-90 in the Mount Baker lid that I hadn’t see before.

One that was in a sort of urban decay font that said “LOATHE,” and another in a helter-skelter earthquake font that said “ROWDY.”

Both very readable, especially considering they were done under deadline.

I just wish the word selection was a little more uplifting. When you throw words like loathe and rowdy in front of people who are having to go back to jobs that a lot of them hate, it’s just piling on. I know you’re vandals, but come on! At least consider your audience.

The rebellion thing gets tedious. We all want to rebel, but some of us have to go to work to generate the tax money that builds the infrastructure that serves as your art studio.

So lighten it up a little.

Maybe throw in a word like “FRIDAY,” or “CAFFEINE” in 3D bubble letters. Or how about the word “SNACKS” in that WildStyle font with the lightning bolts.

It wouldn’t kill you to show a little love once in a while.

Which brings me to my latest highway improvement idea.

We all know that when the anti-graffiti crews cover up the graffiti, they’re just prepping the art gallery for the next exhibit.

So why not – listen to this – hire actual artists not to paint out the old graffiti, but to cover it with better graffiti, with messages that drivers need to hear? Like, for example, “ZIPPER MERGE.” Those yellow “merge” signs are for old people. If you want to get through to today’s young, sassy, hands-free drivers, you need to put up the words “zipper merge” in a New York City Subway-Grunge font, 12 feet high on the retaining wall, right there at I-90.

And just like that, sensible driving becomes cool.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: Seattle freeways need better graffiti, not less