Tucson Oddity: 'Creatures' a design for safety

2011-09-19T00:00:00Z 2011-09-19T09:59:47Z Tucson Oddity: 'Creatures' a design for safetyCarol Ann Alaimo Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
September 19, 2011 12:00 am  • 

In one Tucson neighborhood, a collection of quirky creatures serves as a guardian of public safety.

Parrots and pooches, angels and aliens - all made of recycled bicycle parts and reflective material - adorn several traffic circles in the San Clemente Historic District, warning drivers to slow down.

The traffic circles were installed a decade or so ago at residents' expense to discourage speeding in the neighborhood. The sculptures help draw attention to their presence, especially at night.

"We thought it would be nice to have something a little different," said Matt Zoll, president of the San Clemente Neighborhood Association.

Zoll also happens to manage Pima County's bicycle and pedestrian program. Because of his interest in cycling, he knew of the local nonprofit BICAS - short for Bicycle Inter-Community Art & Salvage - where people create sculpture from old bike parts.

Zoll bought one of the pieces and showed it off to his neighbors. A trend was born.

"Matt brought one to a meeting and we all just fell in love," recalled Felicia Frontain, an association board member.

The sculptures also are a source of amusement for residents and visitors to the neighborhood south of Broadway and east of Alvernon Way.

In December, they sometimes sport Santa hats. In July, rabbits and lizards lounge in their shade.

Zoll once came across a couple from Nebraska who seemed especially interested in the sculptures. Turned out they were taking part in an Internet-based treasure hunt that had led them to the site through the global positioning system.

Occasionally, an errant driver will plow into one of the artworks, necessitating repair or replacement.

But overall, they've proven pretty sturdy, he said.

"They're whimsical and cute," Zoll said, "and they've served us well."

Got an oddity?

Is there something you've noticed while driving through Tucson that has piqued your curiosity? Or is there some piece of Old Pueblo history you've wondered about? Drop us a line, and we'll look into it.

Call the Star newsroom at 573-4232 or send an email to oddity@azstarnet.com

Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at calaimo@azstarnet.com or at 573-4138

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video

Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...

Event Calendar

Today's events | Add an event

Most viewed: