July 13

Spotted in Wallingford: Ladybug is 5 years old

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44  comments

Drivers in Wallingford are used to navigating around traffic circles, but one intersection is greeted with surprise, wonder, and perhaps a bit of confusion on first viewing: The biggest ladybug you’ve ever seen lives at the corner of N. 49th and Burke. Here’s the satellite view:

Six years ago landscape architect Eric Higbee approached neighbors about the idea of painting the intersection, which sees a lot of traffic that’s trying to avoid N. 50th St. backups.

Higbee lived on the corner of N. 49th St. and Burke, and was enamored of the painted intersections he saw in Portland. No such intersections existed in Seattle at the time. “We were the guinea pigs to go through the SDOT process,” Higbee said. The Seattle Department of Transportation asked the group to meet the same standards as for a traffic circle.

See pictures of the design and painting process on Higbee’s site.

This weekend the ladybug (also dubbed “the Wallybug” back in 2006) will get its 5th annual (re)painting. The event brings together neighbors for the street painting and a potluck to celebrate the bug’s fresh coat. People also paint smaller rocks as ladybugs; you’ll see them in front yards in the area.

Though one might assume a painted intersection slows down drivers, SDOT has collected no such evidence. Jane Rebelowski, who runs SDOT’s neighborhood traffic program, told us, “Painted intersections are a community-building tool, not a traffic-calming device. Often speeding is done by neighbors. But when people start thinking about it, they’re aware of their neighbors.” She conceded, “There may be indirect traffic calming effect.”

Rebelowski has worked extensively with the group of neighbors who are volunteer ladybug stewards to put together guidelines for others to create their own painted intersection. An excerpt:

You’ll need to get your design approved by the Seattle Department of Transportation’s (SDOT) Neighborhood Traffic section and obtain a permit from SDOT’s Street Use Division to paint your intersection. But we’ll work with you throughout the process. Here are some of the rules and requirements.

1. Intersection paintings are only allowed on residential (non-arterial) streets.
2. Only the driving area can be painted, not the curb/gutters/sidewalks.
3. Only special paints (Rodda is one manufacturer) that have grit added to increase skid resistance are allowed.
4. The design needs to be approved by SDOT’s Neighborhood Traffic. There aren’t many specific rules on designs that are acceptable. It can be abstract, or it can represent something. But it can’t mimic “official” pavement markings, such as stripes, to ensure that drivers aren’t confused. No words are allowed, and there are obvious things we can’t allow, such as advertising, and culturally insensitive images.
5. A petition is required to ensure tha the community is on-board.
6. A temporary street use permit from SDOT is required, along with an annual street use permit.

No other neighborhoods currently have painted intersections, but in August a giant turtle will be painted at Interlake and N. 41st, and another street painting is planned for N. 80th and Stone Way in September.

Higbee, meanwhile, has moved down to Madison Valley, but his passion for painted intersections hasn’t flagged. “The ladybug was outstandingly successful in bringing neighbors together,” he said. “It’s a testament to the process, and it’s an excuse for a big block party.”

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  1. It’s troubling that these “volunteer ladybug stewards” cannot find “an excuse for a big block party” that doesn’t involve 25+ gallons of highly toxic paint ending up in our watershed every year. Have any of them stopped to think about WHY they need to repaint annually? These dangerous, non-biodegradable chemicals wear off and are going directly into our storm drains. Even SDOT has stated that this is not a traffic calming measure, so it is hardly necessary.

    I hope that the Wallingford residents in charge of this project and those planning similar projects in their neighborhoods will reconsider this environmentally irresponsible choice. If these people recycle, compost, and are up in arms about the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, they are hypocrites if they proceed with this project.

  2. Actually Deann, it says they only re paint every 5 years. Annually they just have a party. But thanks for the opinion of your neighbors. Next time maybe just read a bit more closely before starting the mudslinging.

    I love the idea, our neighbors are considering this for a 5 way intersection that seems to be considered an arterial by some. Plus like he says, it is a community building event to get people together and actually talk to their neighbors.

  3. Doh, I just re-read that and you are right, this is the 5th year they are repainting. Guess I should eat my words now…

    I still think it is great though.

  4. I was living on that block the first year we painted the ladybug. It was such a great community building event and fun too! I no longer live in the Wallingford neighborhood but I still go back to see the bug when I can. So glad to see you are still keeping it going!

  5. There are also plenty of neighbors (one-third of us based on the last vote) who don’t like the painted intersection for one reason or another. It’s not necessarily the wonderful community-building activity that it’s being touted as — and for those of us who are opposed to the bug, it’s actually the opposite.

  6. Deann – I think you might want to read the article again.

    This is the *only* painted intersection in a region where we are talking something like millions of gallons of paint being on the road.

    So from an environmental standpoint this (and the few other intersections planned) mean precisely nothing.

    It’s just this sort of pointless hair-shirt killjoy attitude that gives us greenies a bad name. You couldn’t do more for BP by going to work for them directly 🙂

    I live nearby and when I go through that intersection (on my bike which uses a non-toxic biodegradable vegetable oil-derived chain lube – seriously! – so there 🙂 it always brings a smile to my face.

    And Lisa – what are your reasons? I’m curious to know. It just seems fun…

  7. I am concerned that others who want to undertake this type of project are not getting the full story on the down sides of the painting. It is presented as being “outstandingly successful in bringing neighbors together.” This could not be further from the truth. Neighbors who have expressed opposition to the bug have been met with negative responses, ranging from dismissal to outright hostility. When it was proposed that the neighborhood engage in a consensus building process to resolve differences, the painting supporters refused. So for some of us, the painting has been anything but “community building.”

    As someone who lives on the bug, I can tell you that it does not slow traffic, has brought increased car and pedestrian traffic that affects my privacy, garbage and cigarette butts in my yard, vandalism and purposeful efforts to “mess up” the painting at night and an increase in children and adults walking, biking and playing in the middle of the intersection. While some find it “cute,” others don’t, especially when the paint is fresh and glaring. In addition, while the supporters claim the effect of the paint on the environment is “negligible,” those of us who recycle, compost, use reusable bags, drive hybrid cars, walk when we could drive, etc. know that it is the efforts of each individual that make a difference for the whole. As I see one reader has commented on your blog, to dismiss the effects of the paint is hypocritical.

    I hope this information is helpful to anyone considering this type of project.

  8. I also live right near the bug and have experienced the whole process of painting the intersection as an alienating one. I now do not feel in community with about 70% of my neighbors. There were about 30% of us who were opposed to the repainting of the bug. We implored the “pro bugs” to engage in a consensus process to reach a compromise and THEY REFUSED.

    I felt like I was part of the community before the ladybug came to town. I’m one of those people who talks to my neighbors and doesn’t need a project to engage in to get me to be social with the people around me. Now I don’t feel at home in my own neighborhood. It troubles me any time this project is presented as “community building” since my experience was the exact opposite of that.

    I urge any of you who are thinking about this type of project in your neighborhood to make sure you engage in a consensus process so that it truly is an entire community that you are building rather than a certain percentage masquerading as an entire community.

  9. So, Greg, many gallons of paint poured onto the street unnecessarily is “precisely nothing”? Then why do you use “non-toxic biodegradable vegetable oil-derived chain lube”? You must not find that “precisely nothing” or you wouldn’t bother. I applaud your use of a bicycle and your choice in chain lube. The bug may make you “smile,” but considering its environmental impact does not indicate a “pointless hair-shirt killjoy attitude.” It indicates a person who is mindful of our effects on the Earth. So thank you, Deann, for your thoughtfulness. You make me smile.

  10. Wow; after reading these posts it sounds like more than lack of consideration for the environment is at play. History has shown over and over that majority opinions aren’t necessarily fair or just. Sad to hear that neighbors can’t come up with something for the benefit of all. Why not join up and plant around your area and help the environment?

  11. It is strange that Peg and Candace claim that the process of creating the Ladybug was “alienating” and “divisive.” They can be seen in Higbee’s photos participating in neighborhood gatherings, drawing designs and contributing to the original painting. In fact their child’s drawing (fourth image) was one of the two favorited designs that eventually became the final design, which they voted on. They helped close and clean the street on the first painting day, and their signatures, along with Lisa, were some of the 85% of the neighbors within one block to approve the original painting.

    I can accept that some neighbors have changed their mind about the painting, but please don’t rewrite history to claim that it was something forced upon you against your will. I can understand that you now feel alienated, but that was choice you made when you decided you didn’t like it anymore and stopped engaging with your neighbors, not something that was inherent in the “community building” process. And I can see how it is uncomfortable being in the minority, but it is not justify the distorted lens through which you now see your caring neighbors as being uncompromising and hostile.

    There are DOZENS of intersection paintings in Portland and more keep getting painted every year across the United States, not because they are some awful addition to a neighborhood, but because they have a proven track record of bringing people together and creating amazing spaces. One hundred percent consensus is impossible, and the fear mongering of a disgruntled few should not upstage the success of this project and others like it.

  12. Steven, thank you.

    If residents are looking for a community-building project for that specific intersection, why not a petition SDOT for a traffic circle and fill it with beautiful plants during a block party? The original ladybug theme could be honored by allowing the neighborhood kids create small concrete & mosaic ladybug stepping stones (under adult supervision, of course) and incorporating the stones into the new planting space. In addition to the annual neighborhood block party, they could have a couple of smaller gatherings throughout the year to add compost, mulch, divide plants in the fall, share some volunteer plantings from their own yards, etc.

  13. To “the ladybug supporter”….

    Thank you for putting things in perspective. It’s unfortunate some people do not enjoy the ladybug, but the majority (in and out of the neighborhood) see this as a wonderful project. (You can see as of my posting, 48 people gave this article a thumbs up.)

    I encourage anyone who feels alienated by their neighbors to please talk to us. I know most of this neighborhood and can say it is by no means the intention of one person in this neighborhood to alienate you. Rather, I feel those who feel this way have gone into hiding and are not allowing themselves to be a part of the neighborhood any longer.

    I also live on the Ladybug and live very close to the very people who do not support the ladybug painting. Of these people, one is next door and I have a great relationship with these neighbors. We treated the Ladybug process as just that – a process that we went through and it would go one way or another. Now that the process is over, we have continued our relationship (great before, great after).

    Again, if anyone feels alienated, please say hi on the street, swing by to chat…no one is retaliating against you. We all love this neighborhood and appreciate the great neighbors we have.

  14. a ladybug supporter: After reading your self-sacrifice on the altar of irony, I’m just dying to know that if you “can accept that some neighbors have changed their minds about the painting,” why did you write three paragraphs criticizing them for having done so?

    Changing one’s mind is not “rewriting history.” It sounds like some of your neighbors were willing to give this project a try 5 years ago, there were unanticipated, undesirable consequences (clearly stated in one of the posts above), and they decided that they preferred not to have the ladybug on their corner. Okay, so you have pictures of these neighbors who were on board with this idea in the beginning. (So what? There are pictures of me at a KC and The Sunshine Band concert many, many years ago, but I guarantee I won’t be catching his performance at the Emerald Queen Casino now!)

    However, I AM in complete agreements with your statements “I understand how you feel alienated” and “how uncomfortable it is being in the minority.” Your post beautifully illustrates why some of your neighbors would feel this way. You accuse them of “fear mongering,” you dismiss their explanations of why they are opposed to the ladybug as “a distorted lens,” and their offers to meet and discuss a compromise were refused.

    Yes, you sound like quite the little community-builder!

  15. I stumbled upon this article today while researching the bug. Yesterday my husband and I were walking our 11 month old son through Wallingford and we happened to stroll passed 49th and Burke where about 8 people were washing the closed off street.

    When I read this article and particularly the comments below, I felt it was worth just taking a moment to comment on my experience with these neighbors.

    I was thoroughly impressed with how kind and warm this group was. They stopped working, introduced themselves, talked about the project they were working on. They even invited us over to the event! Being new to this town, it was such a positive (and much needed) experience.

    Though I can’t speak to their actions to neighbors opposed to painting, I can’t help but think that if they are this nice to strangers, they have to have some level of kindness to the people they share the street with.

    Thanks for making us feel welcome in your town!

    Aimee

  16. Aimee writes “…they have to have some level of kindness to the people they share the street with.”

    Aimee, welcome to Seattle. I hope you and your family are very happy here. Just a word of caution: Please remember your new neighbors are the same people who refused to sit down and politely discuss a possible compromise with your other neighbors.

  17. I am one of the lucky neighbors who lives a few houses away from the Ladybug. I love our painted intersection and the great neighbors who surround it (including the ones who do not support the bug). For a long time we’ve had community building events begining with block parties about 16 years ago. Later we organized our block to plant trees on the parking strips, so that we’d someday have shade.

    The Ladybug idea came out of numerous neighborhood meetings to address the problem of increased 50th Street traffic overflow onto our street. Lots of options were discussed and we decided to try the intersection painting as it had shown success in Portland. The collaborative design process has been described in other letters. As for traffic calming, it’s my opinion that it has had a positive effect. Something has, as there is much less traffic and it moves at a more reasonable speed than it did before. Granted, there may be other explanations.

    Today we had so much fun at our gathering to repaint the Ladybug, and the party that followed. Dozens of neighborhood families, many with small children came to help and get to know each other. It was a wonderful day.

  18. Hey ladybug supporter: get a life! Why is a putting a bunch of paint on the street so important to you? And why is it so much more important than the distress of your neighbors? Why don’t you address the environmental impact of the paint? Is it because you don’t have an argument there? As I posted earlier, sounds like a lot is involved here. Could it be ego? A landscape architect trying to make a name for himself? Attention-seeking? Why not think about helping others rather than just yourselves? If you’re lacking ideas for other ways to get your neighbors together I could offer about, oh, 100 suggestions off the top of my head. Deann has a good one! Peace!

  19. Siobhan : It is possible to empathize with someone’s feelings, but disagree with their actions.

    In this instance, I disagree with how some are responding to their concerns with actions (blog posts) that misrepresent the neighborhood, the process of creating the ladybug, and which clearly intend to generate fear for others considering a street painting.

  20. At no time have I stated that the “process of creating the ladybug” was alienating and divisive. Any of my attempts to engage some neighbors in discussion about re-painting the bug have been, however. I agreed to the ladybug the first year because it was sold to me as a device to SLOW TRAFFIC, which is desperately needed in this intersection. (I was quite surprised to find later that SDOT never intended the bug to slow traffic and that they consider the neighborhood to have been misled about the intention of street paintings. Don’t bother arguing with me about this—call Jane Rebelowski yourself.) It is not “re-writing history” to say that after living with the painting for a year and finding that it did not affect traffic and it brought many undesirable effects, I asked neighbors to consider building a traffic circle or to stop painting the ladybug in front of my house. For the past four years the ladybug has indeed been re-painted “against my will.”

    Just because I do not share the groupthink that the ladybug is a wonderful thing for all does not mean I made a “choice” to be alienated. You seem to think that my outspokenness about the bug (which is in front of my home, afterall) means that I “stopped engaging” with neighbors, but quite the opposite is true. I have been nothing but open, honest and communicative about the bug, calling meetings, including a meeting with SDOT, and engaging with neighbors one-on-one. (And, “ladybug supporter,” I am not afraid to use my name when I state my perspective.) I DO see ignoring the concerns of some neighbors and refusing to engage in a consensus process as uncompromising and I HAVE been met with hostility, of which your post is a good example. (Thank you, Siobhan, for your insight—and for making me laugh! Go KC!) I won’t relay four years’ worth of dismissal and hostility, but examples include having people come to my door and YELL at me for my opposition to the ladybug, being called names, told I am selfish, told I want to take away people’s joy and having my children drawn into the controversy. (BTW, “ladybug supporter,” kindly leave my children out of this.)

    It’s nice if people in other places are happy with their intersection paintings, but letting those who might undertake a project like this know about problems that we have encountered hardly constitutes “fear mongering.” And to continue to refer to this project as a “success” when you read these posts only illustrates your ongoing dismissal of experiences and perspectives different from your own.

    (As an aside, to state that “one hundred percent consensus is impossible” indicates a fundamental lack of understanding of what consensus is. One neighbor kindly wrote up an explanation of the process and one means of undertaking it and provided this to neighbors but it was ignored completely by the ladybug supporters, who refused to engage.

  21. …and thank you Carrie and others for using a more positive reconciliatory tone rather than the inflammatory hostile language exercised by others (including, regrettably, myself).

  22. Ladybug supporter, I don’t see someone expressing their own views as a “misrepresentation.” And I don’t see someone letting other people know, before they dump their gallons of paint into the environment, that there are reasons to think about what they’re doing first as “generating fear.” I, for one, appreciate hearing different perspectives and being fully informed before I head into a project that changes the landscape. And I don’t feel a bit “fearful.” Chill out, man.

  23. Outside opinion:
    Who knew the ladybug was so controversial?

    It sounds like a simple basic disagreement has grown petty, bitter and personal. Why don’t the ladybug supporters address the concerns of the opposition, by, for example, helping with trash cleanup? Can the opponents acknowledge any good to the painting? If each of you could get past the idea that the entire world doesn’t think they way you do, but instead acknowledge some of the points of the other side and respect differences of opinion and try to work within them, that would be more neighborly, would it not?

    And, no, you can never reach 100% consensus in therms of finding a solution that is truly pleasing to everyone. You can probably find an arrangement that everyone can at least grudgingly accept, if you really try. No, I sure don’t know what that arrangement would be; I don’t know the full scope of the issue. Just start by everyone on both sides getting over yourselves.

    How bout if I call you all names? You can join together in hatin’ on the interfering Fremonster. Silly insular Wallingfordies! Fightin’ over a ladybug while the world burns. Is this the biggest problem in your life? Get on the ground and kiss that ladybuggy asphalt if this is all you have to worry about. There, that get you going yet? Or do I have to use the “y” word?

  24. A ladybug supporter, let me get this straight: In your second post, you claim to be empathetic towards those with opposing points of view, but what you disagree with is their STATING their viewpoints here just like you (and those who agree with you) are doing? Wow. Hypocritical much? It’s no wonder those neighbors who don’t agree with you feel alienated; you don’t want those who disagree with you to even BE HEARD. So much for the democratic process, eh, Dear Leader? (Oops, I meant “community-builder.” My bad!)

    Fruitbat, those opposed to the ladybug offered to sit down and work out a compromise, and those in favor of the painting refused. Please note that those in favor of the ladybug have yet to address a single concern or objection stated in this forum, much less sit down with their neighbors and work together. Based on the posts here, I believe the folks opposed to this painting understand that a compromise is something that might not be everyone’s first choice, but something that everyone can live with. Those in favor claim to be willing to talk about it now – after they just repainted it this weekend!

    I wouldn’t find it petty if something resulted in garbage and vandalism on and/or around my property. Joanne states that there were “dozens of families” who participated in this painting. As this many families cannot possibly live within sight of this intersection, perhaps they’d be willing to take a turn and have the painting closer to THEIR homes for awhile and see how it goes.

  25. Hey all,

    This doenst need to be so bitter and personal. We did have a great day yesterday and I hope we find that with time, frustration subsides amongst everyone.

    Lets end the back and forth, name calling on blog posts, etc. and put our energy in a more positive place. Honestly, we all have something to say and everyone could have a response to each point they found disturbing in the above posts. Lots of time and energy with what outcome?

    It would be really great if this post….was the last one (for or against) in response to this issue.

    Thanks,
    -Carrie

  26. That would be great Carrie! Could you set up a community meeting so this could be worked out in a neighborly manner?

  27. Hi Siobhan, I’m not sure we’ve met but would be glad to talk to you in person. I’ll let the moderator of this blog know they can give you my email. Feel free to reach out to me directly. Thanks!

  28. Gee, Carrie, how lovely that you want to make nicey-nice and it sure is swell that you had a nice day yesterday, but it sure sounds like you want to silence those who disagree with you. You may want to stick your head in the sand and pretend that everything is hunky-dory in your ‘hood and you haven’t screwed your neighbors, but it’s obvious to anyone reading this that that’s not the case. Things that affect us ARE “personal,” Carrie. Sounds like you’ve got quite a bit of denial going. Nothing wrong with sharing information, perspective and even opinions. What do you think these forums are for? Self-congratulations only? If you don’t like it, make your post YOUR last one and don’t log on anymore. Leave the rest of us to discuss important issues like pouring paint into the environment. Anyone ever gonna respond to that one (besides Siobhan)?

  29. Done Steven. Thanks for the kind suggestion 😉 Enjoy the banter!

    Signing off….

  30. I notice that “A Ladybug Supporter” and a few others who are blogging here are not using their names. If you’re going to blog, please have the guts to let us all know who is saying what. I assume if everything about the ladybug process was as fair and empathic as it has been presented by the supporters there would be no need for any of the supporters (or anyone, for that matter) to hide behind a pseudonym.

    Steven, I agree with you about the possible effects the paint may have on the environment.

  31. Now I know why the Uptight Seattlite columnist retired, he couldn’t possibly top this comment thread even if he kept going in the Weekly for the next ten years.

  32. Nice job from a visitor from Everett. I wish we had that kind of (70%) support for a great community-gathering event. Carrie, nice job in trying to keep a community spirit going. I will keep my negative comments for the negative commentators in check.

    Nice job, everyone!

  33. These are very opposing positions on community building, it is clear that the majority are not listening to the minority. As is usually the case.
    We can look around the globe or in the smaller community of a few blocks and the majority as in this case are not even willing to look how there Will and Power affect others in the community. With this amount of animosity displayed over a painting (whither toxix or not) on this street particulary since it does not accomplish the community building or the slowing of traffic. But, it has created a Toxic environment in this community.
    What is more important to the pro painting people the Community or the Power. That is my question? There are many ways to build community Power Over is not one of the ways it will always divide. Enjoyment does not come from division. The pro’s do not come from a position of creating community or spreading joy. Which is of course very sad for this community.
    Listening and consenus building would be in my humble opinion a better course. Living in a situation where 70% of the community has imposed its Will on 30% how much joy and community do you feel when you pass one of the 30% that is my question to the 70%.
    Perhaps when the community building discussion project comes around again the 70% can take the high road and let the 30% make a choice, change is always hard for everyone communities can grow if this is really about community.

  34. I don’t know if the bug has any affect on traffic – positive or negative. I don’t know that any data have been collected. I also don’t dismiss that people have noticed differences in traffic since the bug was first painted. I don’t live right on the intersection. So, I defer to those with more direct observations.

    But, it is misleading to argue that 25 gallons of paint get washed into our watershed annually. I’ve painted the bug 4 times and to my knowledge we haven’t used 25 gallons during any single painting. Plus, when the clean up happens the day prior, the powerwashing only produces a few cupfulls of paint chips. I have not seen the MSDS on the paint that is used. It is, however, DOT approved – for whatever that is worth. I’m an aquatic biologist – not a chemist. So I don’t know the ways the paint breaks down and its derivatives. Certainly there can be acute, chronic, and loadings problems for aquatic biota related to chemicals in the water and sediment. In addition, there can be synergistic and/ or antagonistic effects that we don’t even know about yet. Puget Sound, as the ultimate receiving body of water, collects everything that the upslope watersheds cannot process or otherwise assimilate. We know that for some constituents the ability to do that is already at or beyond capacity. We all need to do what we can to be part of the solution.

    The literature on paint toxicity is a rich one I suspect. Paint can certainly be a problem for aquatic biota – especially the metals that are used to create the colors if they are in a reactive form. How should we handle the paint on our houses that ends up in the storm water? The argument can be made that paint flaking off houses in the neighborhood is at least as big a problem as the paint on our streets. Perhaps bigger because houses don’t get re-sealed every year.
    It has also been documented that unsealed concrete raises pH in storm water. That changes the solubility of other ions, etc. etc. etc. etc.

    The reality is that we live in a built environment and that has consequences for ecosystems that evolved in the absence of the biological, chemical, and physical changes that come along with the built world. These are big problems with no easy solutions. I feel really lucky to live in a city where people are engaged with and passionate about these issues. Having come from Detroit, I also feel really lucky to live in a neighborhood where the residents are inspired and dedicated to keeping the neighborhood a vibrant place. I am inspired that so many of my neighbors are passionate about my neighborhood. Thank you! I’m sorry everyone doesn’t love the bug. I do. I ride my bike over it twice a day. 🙂

  35. Look at is this way, ladybug supporters. I like the Fremont Troll just fine. Great art? No. But it’s kinda fun. And when I’m in Fremont, given the choice and if my kids are in the car, I’ll take the road that drives me right by the troll. I suspect I’m not the only one who does that so I conclude that the troll brings more traffic to that street. Once we even stopped the car so the kids could climb on it. What did we find there? An unbelievable amount of glass. Used condoms. A syringe. Tons of garbage. Cigarette butts. Lots of cars driving by. A group of men behind the troll’s head looking threatening. I would never want to live by the troll. I don’t want lots traffic in front of my house. I don’t want people and their garbage out my front door. Do you? It’s hard for me to imagine you would. You might think the ladybug is kinda fun, but would you really want to live on it? Just doesn’t seem very neighborly to force that kind of thing on somebody. I guess if you wanted to you could build a Wallingford ladybug on your front lawn and your neighbors couldn’t do much about it. But to paint one in a shared public space, even though it has caused problems for your neighbors and they’ve asked you not to, just seems unkind. We all live here. Not just you. Do unto others, etc. I feel so bad for all of you—those who no longer find respite in their homes and those who seem to have no kindness in their hearts. Frankie points out the larger political and spiritual implications of this so-called neighborhood project. Everyone should read that post and take a long, hard look inside. Sad indeed, ladybug painters. Surely you can find another project that doesn’t harm anyone.

  36. Thank you Ray for finally adding some input on the environmental issue. However many gallons of paint are used, it is one more thing put into the waterways or disposed of in a way that also affects the Earth in a negative way. As you yourself say, we all need to do what we can to be part of the solution. And we all make choices. I like to buy bottled water but I don’t because of the environmental impact. I ride my bike and take the bus even though it’s not as convenient. You might like to ride your bike on the bug but that doesn’t make it an okay thing. There are environmental concerns and there are other concerns from some neighbors which have been largely ignored in this discussion. If we all made choices in consideration of the Earth and our neighbors the world would be a better place. With more planted spaces, in my viewpoint. Thanks for responding.

  37. Hi
    I just got back from visiting my folks in the
    South. I always check this site as I live in Freemont I use the real Free cause that’s how I feel about Seattle. As a minority myself and will be all my life I feel for this minority. I read the comments about the issue of the bug. It pains me to listen to the folks who support the bug, cause they are not hearing the others in the neighborhood.

    By the sound of the majority I would bet they’re liberals, probly voted for Barak and felt good about it. As a minority I and many other minorities feel scratch below the paint I will use that metaphor in the case. We will find someone very scary. The feeling in our country is vitirolic, it sometimes creeps into our everyday life, as in this neighorhood in our city of Seattle. I feel the majority have to take a long hard look at themselves and wonder how much they have invested in this trivial endevour, and for what?

    Your neighbors are living, feeling people they are your neighborhood, this bug in nothing but paint which caused contention. The majority are just focused on the bug and themselves how they feel about the bug, not the community and not the living neiborhood. As Rodney King said so aptly “Why can’t we just get along”. Majorities are not always right just look at our past, my folks were slaves with dreams how far we came but we didn’t come alone.

    We came with all the ethnic minorities the gay’s, the lesbians, the poets, the writers, the poor the rich the powerful, this is my neighborhood. We still have along way to go, I have no doubt that this majority could and can do better.

  38. I work in Wallingford, and when I first came across the ladybug I was thoroughly delighted. But reading these opinions makes me consider different perspectives. First of all, I don’t have to live with the image in my face at all times. I do admit that it would definitely get on my nerves to have imposed on me a perpetual preschool-theme that one finds on weekday morning PBS or Zoo murals; it’s cute to pass by, but I wouldn’t want it in my front yard, so I feel for those who don’t want it theirs. Secondly, if the ladybug really is an alternative to a traffic circle meant to slow traffic, it doesn’t work. Like I said, the first time I saw it, I did slow down to look at it, but since then, when I’m in a hurry on my way to work, there is no need for me to slow down at the ladybug, I’ve already seen it so I drive right through. Going around traffic circles does make one slow down though. Also, I really appreciate the community garden work that a lot of block-neighbors plant in their traffic circles, which totally helps the environment. It sounds from all these posts that it’s time for a change so everybody can have a chance to get what they want and need.

  39. Ray writes “The argument can be made that paint flaking off houses in the neighborhood is at least as big a problem as the paint on our streets.”

    I respectfully disagree. The reason my home is painted (about every 10 years, not annually) is to prevent the wood (and eventually, the interior) from weather damage. It would be far more taxing on the environment to leave it unpainted and then continuously remove and replace parts of my home. The paint on my house doesn’t wear off every year because of the wear and tear of city traffic. The paint on this ladybug flakes off all year long and not just the one time a year it is pressure washed. As this ladybug has never been considered to be a traffic calming measure, it’s hardly a necessary evil or environmental trade off. Ray, in the interest of further polite discourse, could you share with this forum how many cans of pain you use each year, how you dispose of them, and the MSDS. It might help the discussion here. 🙂

    If people in favor of this ladybug are so keen on painting, perhaps a more beneficial project would be to help out an elderly neighbor by painting his/her home. I think that would go a long way towards creating goodwill and a positive community spirit. While some people seem to justify this ladybug by saying it brought the community together for one day/weekend, the environmental effects are ongoing every day of the year.

    The fact that it has clearly not brought the community together makes it even worse.

  40. Wow! Who knew 70% how many actual people are in the total count? These Bullies and Dictators live right here amongst us. Why are we not surprised they cowardly have not identified themselves as Peg asks? Higbee takes the praise, he now needs to take some responsiblity. He implied this project would slow traffic and build community this is not correct in either instance. He has now moved and left behind this community mess and an eyesore as Rick stated. In reading the comments the Buggites are not interested in community as Frankie states, in fact are willing to go to a neighbors home and yell, how community building is that? Shame on whomever that was.

    If this was in front of my house and I did not want it there which in fact I wouldn’t, I would be mad as hell. The Buggites who want the bug, put it in front of your house. If one household in the intersection does not want it you need to find an intersection where 100% are in agreement. I am so glad I don’t have these “Bully Buggites” as neighbors.

    The rational voices have not been responded to by the “Bully Buggites” they like all bullies can’t respond as they are blinded by what they want and seemingly will sacrifice a peaceful
    co-existance to satisfy this need, to inflict their infantile will like spoiled two year olds stomping on their neighbors, shame on you.

    I hope when this comes up next year the “Bully Buggites” reread all the comments here. Samoa said this is trivail I totally agree. If you feel the need to paint, do as Deann said go help another less fortuate person.

  41. I really found this post is very interesting , thank you buddy for sharing.

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