The City of Bellevue may have found a way to deter graffiti and camouflage those big, unsightly roadside utility boxes at the same time -- decorative plastic wrap with artistic themes.
Three utility boxes in the Wilburton neighborhood, at the intersection of Lake Hills Connector and Southeast Eighth Street, have been wrapped.
The wraps, similar to the ones used for advertising on buses, feature watercolor paintings of flowers, ferns and leaves. The artwork donated by a city staffer, was transferred digitally to plastic sheeting.
There are up to three utility boxes for each of the city's 184 signalized intersections, containing signal control equipment and wiring that power the traffic signals. In addition to being unattractive, the gray metal boxes are targets for graffiti vandals. Graffiti has been on the rise this year, with the city having to spend more than $500 a month so far for its removal from utility boxes.
The wraps at Wilburton were installed this month as part of a pilot project for the Urban Boulevards program, which improves neighborhood livability and character through attractive and memorable gateways and landscaping on key streets.
The wraps convey that Bellevue is a "City in a Park," and their slick surface repels spray paint, making it easy to remove graffiti. If the Wilburton wraps, which each cost about $400 to install, prove popular and deter graffiti, the city may wrap more utility boxes, at key intersections in heavily traveled areas.
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