“Speed Kills” Mural

by The Safe Streets Committee

A couple of months ago, Sunland-Tujunga residents began to notice the beginnings of a new mural in town which was being painted on the wall of Wrecked and Mended, an auto body shop on Foothill Boulevard located next to The Crow’s Nest. The mural depicts the late actor James Dean and his infamous Porsche 550 Spyder, called “Little Bastard,” that he was killed in while speeding on his way to a race. Nerses Avedyan, the owner of Wrecked and Mended and the father of a soon-to-be driver, wanted to create a reminder for Sunland-Tujunga drivers, particularly younger drivers, that speeding can and does kill. Nerses enlisted the help of renowned artist Hector Ponce and his 14-year-old daughter, Jessica, to paint the eye-catching mural.

As Nerses and Jessica were completing work on the mural, they were informed that the city has a permitting process for murals, and they began to work with the STNC’s Beautification Committee to get the mural properly permitted.

After reaching an obstacle in the permitting process when the artwork was determined to lay in a grey area between mural and advertisement, the Los Angeles City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) agreed that if an anti-speeding public service announcement was added to the mural, that could move it out of that grey area into undeniable mural territory.

Nerses has created a sketch showing the message “Speed Kills” on the mural and will be sending it in to the DCA for feedback. The Beautification Committee will continue to help Nerses work towards getting the mural permitted, and a community meeting will be held soon for feedback and input on the mural.

The Safe Streets committee will also be voting at their next meeting on the sending of a letter of support to the DCA in support of the antispeeding messaging on the mural, if the Beautification committee determines it would be helpful in the mural application process.

Foothill Boulevard has an extremely high traffic fatality and serious injury rate and is listed as part of the city’s High Injury Network, in which six percent of the streets are the location of 65 percent of traffic deaths and serious injuries.

The Safe Streets committee has a mission to identify ways to slow traffic, reduce collisions and improve safety for all users of Foothill Boulevard and is working on an anti-speeding campaign of its own along Foothill Boulevard. Something has got to be done to help lower our community’s extreme traffic violence rate.

It is great to see the Beautification committee, the Safe Streets committee and a small business owner working together to beautify our community and to bring awareness to the terrible problem that plagues our main corridor through town.

If you are interested in these issues, please join the next Safe Streets meeting which will take place at North Valley City Hall (7747 Foothill Blvd) on June 10 at 11:30 a.m. Stay tuned for more updates on the community’s newest mural, stay safe out there, and remember to SLOW DOWN! SPEED KILLS!

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