I was driving down highway 101 in San Jose the other day and I was sick to my stomach as I looked around me. Trash was all over the side of the road and it wasn’t something that had happened overnight. This trash has been accumulating for a long time and it makes our area look like a third world country. I also looked up at a bridge over pass and noticed that the whole bridge was covered with graffiti. My first thought was how in the world can someone do a whole bridge in graffiti without being seen. Especially if that bridge is near 13th street and right over highway 101. Don’t people get arrested for doing things like that? The state of California keeps complaining that we are going broke. Judging by the amount of trash on the side of the road they could make a fortune if highway patrol enforced the state liter laws. How did it get this way? How come you can drive on the roads in Colorado or Texas and not see a piece of paper on the side of the road for miles? I am sure that it would probably be clean in Utah or in Idaho or Washington too.
I remember when I was in my late teens and I moved to Silicon Valley from the east coast in 1974. I was in awe of the beauty of the freeways. I had never seen flowers and nice trees planted on the side of the road. Everything was so new and so clean. I was always excited to take my family up Highway 280 to San Francisco or Half Moon Bay whenever they came out to visit. They would be blown away by the beauty of our roadways. So when did this all change and why are we in this situation? Things seemed to change sometime in the mid 1990’s. I started to notice that the ice plants were still there but they didn’t look as healthy or as full as they once were. Every year since then more and more trash has accumulated and all of the plants are pretty much non existent. I am now embarrassed to drive my family on our roads when they come out and visit. Cal Trans will blame the lack of clean highways on budget cuts and that becomes a catch 22. We need new business to come into this area so that more jobs can be created to stimulate the economy. I would be hesitant to locate my business into an area where filth dominates that areas freeways. What has happened to this area? Why are people so selfish when it comes to polluting our area? What would be your solution to cleaning up the roads?
I’ll throw an idea out there and then I would like to here what you think.
I would allow landscaping companies to take charge of up to one mile of freeway in the worst area. They would be responsible for planting plants at their cost and keeping up the irrigation in their one mile area. In exchange for keeping up the property they would be allowed to put up a 4 x 8 sign with their company name and information within their mile. It could become an unofficial competition between landscape companies to see who could do the best job. We need solutions so what are your thoughts?