Our sister site, My Wallingford, gave us the heads-up about the turtle street painting today and tomorrow at the intersection at Interlake and 41st Street, in an area that overlaps Wallingford and Fremont, just a block east of Stone Way.
The streets are officially closed from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and tomorrow.
Today, the process of turning a street into a mural began in earnest, with dozens of neighbors organized by retired Boeing engineer Bill Lindberg joining Maple Leaf artist Rachel Marcotte (pictured below directing Lindberg, upper right corner) at 6 a.m. this morning to sweep years of leaves and dirt away from the intersection. Marcotte’s son-in-law, Kevin Byers, operated a pressure washer to clean the surface afterward. By 10 a.m., Marcotte and other artists, including her jewelry-making daughter Rebecca Aldrich, were outlining the design with chalk. Later, they will chalk in the colors that can be filled in by volunteers, paint-by-numbers style. The painting will take place this afternoon and tomorrow.
The Neighborhood Traffic section of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has provided oversight and coordination to help bring this street mural to life, including approving the quick-drying, water-based and non-toxic highway paint that will be used for the mural. Grit will be mixed into the paint to make it more durable. The mural is funded in part by the city’s Department of Neighborhoods Matching Fund and will be repainted annually — though it won’t be as labor intensive as this initial work.
Neighbor Michael Sauer rose early with his wife Wendy and their two daughters, 8-year-old Ella and 6-year-old Halle, to help on the project, which has brought the neighbors together.
They came onto the project a few months ago after taking a walk past the ladybug street mural at 49th Street and Burke. They commented on it to Lindberg, saying it’d be a good thing for their own neighborhood and Ella said, “What about a turtle?”
From her initial suggestion, Lindberg moved forward.
“We were all kind of gung ho. Bill listened and his response was, ‘Let’s do that!'” Sauer said.
“Bill knows how to break a huge thing into smaller tasks,” Marcotte said.
“The purpose of this is to acquaint neighbors to each other better and make children feel pride in something they’ve helped create for the community,” said Lindberg, who’s lived in the neighborhood since 1986.
While it’s a coincidence that the design chosen was a turtle, neighbors do think it is a fitting image for the intersection and hope it encourages drivers to ease up on the gas pedal.
“We noticed people slowed down at the ladybug,” Sauer said. “At times during the day people just fly through here. I’m surprised there are not more accidents. In our minds, we feel it’ll make a difference.”
Rebecca Aldrich (right)