Public art at 70th Street trolley station.

Riders of the San Diego Trolley might not notice any public art at the 70th Street station at first glance. This Green Line station in La Mesa, which opened in 2005, has a simple, practical appearance, with the usual benches and a nearby parking lot.

Curious eyes, however, will see a number of sculpted markers in the vegetation, and quotes written on the bases of 36 light poles on either side of the trolley tracks.

The cast metal markers relate the historical importance of native San Diego plants, and indeed these very plants can be found nearby–or at least it was that way originally. Most of the markers explain the importance of each plant to the Native American Kumeyaay people, who inhabited this land for thousands of years before the arrival of Spanish explorers.

This very unique public art was created by Nina Karavasiles. You can see more of her work here and here and here. She also helped design the Rosa Parks Memorial at a San Diego Mesa College bus stop, which I recently blogged about here.

Artwork at the 70th Street trolley station also includes bits of recycled colored glass embedded in the platform. Cobblestones from nearby Alvarado Creek that were obtained during the station’s construction were used to create planters and the bases of benches.

Girls tied redbud blossoms to their shoulders and waists for the spring ceremonial dance of womanhood.
Deer grass. The principal foundation material for coiled baskets.
This plant used as a diuretic medicine gets its astringency from tannic acid. Bear berry.
Before going hunting the Diegueños rubbed white sage on their bodies to eliminate odor.
Early miners used it to deter fleas. Coastal sagebrush.
Fresh elderberry leaves produce a light yellow dye for baskets.
Arroyo willow. Kumeyaay use shredded bark to pad cradle boards in which women carried their babies.
The sycamore was an indicator to California natives that underground water or a stream was nearby.
The oak can live for 250 years. It takes 8 months for the acorns to mature. A family of 4 would gather 500 pounds for the next year. They would travel here and set up temporary camp to harvest the acorns, collecting them in conical baskets. Acorns are 20% fat, 6% protein, 68% carbohydrates.

The following photographs show just a few of the quotes inscribed on the light pole bases. Most have an environmental theme, and of these, most concern the importance of water.

All the stones here have been gathered from the original Alvarado Creek.
Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. Ralph Waldo Emerson
The average annual rainfall in La Mesa is 13 3/4 inches (2004). The average American uses 150 gallons of water a day.
Many of the world’s people must walk 3 hours to fetch water.

Ready for some fun? Part of the answer to the cryptic Alvarado trolley station riddle (which you can see and solve here) can be found in one of the above quotes!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

First PRONTO ticket machine at a trolley station!

I’m a frequent user of public transportation in San Diego. I live downtown and work in Mission Valley. There are several different combinations of buses and trolleys that I can take for my commute. So I have a convenient monthly pass on my MTS Compass Card.

But there’s a new ticketing system on the way this summer that will replace the Compass Card. The new system is called PRONTO.

Today I saw the very first PRONTO ticket machine, which has been installed at the Convention Center trolley station!

If you want to learn more about PRONTO and how it will work, check out this website.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Trolley extension progress near UC San Diego.

If you’ve recently driven up Interstate 5 through University City, you’ve probably observed great progress has been made building the Mid-Coast Trolley extension.

Curving beside the freeway, crossing over it twice, in many places raised up high in the air, this new trolley line will connect Old Town with UC San Diego, the Westfield UTC mall, and a number of stations along the way. This northward trolley expansion is scheduled to open next year!

Most of the structures appear to be in place. I’ve noticed work crews are now stringing up electrical overhead lines. (An overhead wire is also called a catenary. This unusual word is an important clue that will help you solve the mysterious Alvarado trolley station riddle, which you can read here!)

This morning, at the end of a long walk through a quiet University City, I crossed over I-5 at Medical Center Drive and snapped photos of the Mid-Coast Trolley construction in both directions–south and north. My walk concluded at the Gilman Transit Center, a couple blocks farther west.

Looking south from the bridge you can see how the new trolley line curves past the VA Medical Center Hospital, where there will be a station. Another station beyond that, high above the freeway, will be located at Nobel Drive.

After I crossed the bridge, I turned my camera north to photograph the new Pepper Canyon at UCSD West trolley station. From there the line curves eastward, crosses the freeway at Voigt Drive, and will serve passengers boarding and disembarking at UCSD East near Scripps Memorial Hospital.

I’m looking forward to riding the Mid-Coast Trolley when it’s completed. Looks a little like a twisty amusement park ride. I bet the views will be great!

The following photos are looking south toward the Veterans Hospital…

The next three photos are looking northwest, into a small corner of UC San Diego…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Above bright river trees at Rio Vista!

The platform at the Rio Vista trolley station in Mission Valley overlooks the San Diego River. But to see the water, you have to peer down through the branches and leaves of many trees.

I found myself waiting for a trolley, gazing into fluttering autumn leaves. It seemed that light reflected from the river splashed skyward, painting leaves bright green, yellow and gold.

It’s late November. The sycamores and cottonwoods will soon turn gray.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Reflection, movement, life.

I was standing in front of the Santa Fe Depot waiting for a bus, gazing across the street at America Plaza and its trolley station, watching people and their movement, seeing strange reflections on nearby buildings–life and light dancing mysteriously–when I lifted my camera…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Ride the bus or trolley free to vote!

This coming Tuesday, November 3 is MTS Free Ride Day!

The annual day when anyone can ride the San Diego Trolley or any transit bus for free coincides with Election Day in 2020. Even though most polling places aren’t far, and many will be voting by mail this year due to the unusual COVID-19 pandemic circumstance, having Free Ride Day on Election Day seems a great idea!

If you try riding the bus or trolley for the first time on Tuesday, make sure to bring your face covering.

I happened to see the above banner as I waited yesterday at the City Heights Transit Plaza for the 215 Rapid bus. Because I live and work near convenient transit centers, I always purchase a 30 day regional pass, which allows me to ride trolleys and most buses each month wherever and however I choose.

If, like me, you have things to do during your commute, or simply want to rest or look out the window, going by bus or trolley is a great option. Being a photo blogger and writer of fiction, I can be on the lookout for new “Cool San Diego Sights” or people watch!

Yesterday I rode transit from downtown San Diego to Normal Heights to City Heights to Lakeside and back to Balboa Park! Yes, way out east to Lakeside! I even got a photograph of a cowboy!

Stay tuned for many, many more blogs!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Solve a riddle at the Alvarado trolley station!

Ready to solve a San Diego riddle?

Put on your thinking cap!

At the Alvarado Station of the San Diego Trolley, a long riddle appears near the top of the wall that separates this Green Line station from Interstate 8. The very clever public art was created by Roman De Salvo in 2005. The first part of the riddle is now partially obscured by plant growth, but I’ve been able to ascertain the exact words.

Can you solve the mysterious riddle? After racking my brain and coming reasonably close, I checked out the nearby Braille answer! (And learned a little about Braille in the process.)

Leave your guess as a comment, and I’ll let you know how close you are!

(Hint #1: If you can’t make out the words in my photographs, that’s unimportant. I’ve transcribed the words for you. Hint #2: If you’re unfamiliar with this part of San Diego, it helps to look at a map.)

ARTERIES VEINS AND CAPILLARIES FOR AUTOS RAIN AND CATENARIES ALL THREE LINES ARE SIDE BY SIDE ABOVE BELOW AND STRATIFIED ONE IS NUMBERED LESS THAN NINE ANOTHER WAS HERE AT THE DAWN OF TIME THE LAST WILL BE HERE AFTER A WAIT OR RIGHT AWAY IF YOU’RE NOT TOO LATE LOOK AROUND TO SOLVE THIS RIDDLE NAME ALL THREE TOP BOTTOM AND MIDDLE IF BEWILDERED FEEL THE HANDRAIL THE ANSWER THERE IS WRIT IN BRAILLE

The above sign on the waiting platform contains a little information about the Alvarado Medical Center Station’s unique riddle:

…Each word in the riddle is inscribed on individual stone tiles. The words form a pattern along the top of the south wall visually reinforcing the rhythm of the words. In classical frieze tradition, the reader is encouraged to walk along the station platform form one end to the other…

(If these photos seem a little unnatural, I’ve increased the contrast and darkened them slightly so one can make out the words.)

Did you figure it out?

Share your guess as a comment below!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Horseshoe recalls Codi, Old Town’s favorite horse.

Here’s another mystery!

Perhaps someone out there remembers Codi, Old Town’s Favorite Horse. I can find nothing about Codi when I search the internet.

This horseshoe with its plaque is likely noticed by very few people. It was placed inconspicuously at the top of some steps that lead under the train and trolley tracks at the Old Town Transit Center. These particular stairs aren’t often used.

I’ve lived in San Diego about twenty years, and I stumbled upon this horseshoe memorializing Codi just this afternoon!

Was this metalwork created at Old Town’s blacksmith shop?

Did Codi live in the corral beside Seeley Stable, where donkeys reside today? Did Codi provide rides or participate in parades? Are there photos of Codi?

Next time I see an Old Town San Diego State Historic Park ranger, I’ll try to remember to ask about Codi.

If you know anything, everyone would love reading your comment!

UPDATE!

Mystery solved! I now know the history of the horseshoe, and have posted photographs of Codi. To learn about Codi, click here!

CODI. January 1974 - November 2, 1995. Old Town's Favorite Horse.CODI. January 1974 – November 2, 1995. Old Town’s Favorite Horse.

UPDATE!

A couple months later I noticed the bit of graffiti had been cleaned away, so I took another photo…

IMG_4458z

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Your bus or trolley photo on MTS 2021 calendar!

Cool restored Silver Line trolley at Fifth Avenue station.

Do you live in San Diego, or have plans to visit? Are you a rider of the bus or trolley? Are you a photographer at any level who loves a challenge?

San Diego’s MTS (Metropolitan Transit System) might put one of your photographs on their upcoming 2021 calendar!

If you’ve taken a great photo outside or inside an MTS bus or trolley, or perhaps a photo from a station platform, you can submit your image to be considered for inclusion in next year’s official MTS calendar. If your image is selected, you’ll get credit plus your own free calendar.

The deadline for submission is October 15, 2020. Your photos must meet certain requirements, such as being high-resolution and in JPG format. You can learn all about what you need to do on this page.

Why not give it a try?

Sounds like fun!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A new river park by Fashion Valley trolley station!

Northwest corner of Town and Country Resort and Convention Center's river park under construction. The new park will be across Riverwalk Drive from the Fashion Valley Transit Center.
The northwest corner of Town and Country’s new river park is under construction. The public park will be directly across Riverwalk Drive from the Fashion Valley Transit Center.

A new linear river park is under construction near Fashion Valley!

An ugly old parking lot of the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center is being converted into park space. And the north side of the San Diego River, directly adjacent to the Fashion Valley Transit Center, will be part of this new public park, too!

The project, which includes almost 8 acres of restored natural habitat, and beautiful new pathways along the San Diego River, is part of the Town and Country hotel’s extensive property-wide renovation.

Today I found myself standing high up on the Fashion Valley trolley station platform. I looked down to see how the northwest corner of the new park is taking shape.

Because I frequently use this station, I’ll continue to monitor developments!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!