On Stamford Traffic-Signal Boxes, Art That Stops Traffic

On Stamford, CT Traffic-Signal Boxes, Art That Stops Traffic - New York Times
"STAMFORD, Conn., Nov. 24 — A blown-up version of the green-and-yellow crayon box familiar from childhood sits by the Boys and Girls Club. Down the road is a white takeout carton that could feed the Chinese Army. The box outside the firehouse on Washington Boulevard appears to be aflame. And there is a half-painted picket fence on Palmers Hill Road, the brush hovering in midair as if Tom Sawyer himself had momentarily stepped away, with a sign warning, “wet paint.”

What began four years ago as a tiny, grass-roots experiment to beautify the unsightly boxes that control traffic signals around town has become an unexpectedly impressive public art collection, with head-turning installations cropping up constantly to transform drab streetscapes into outdoor galleries.
About 50 of the city’s 190 boxes, once covered with graffiti, are now suitable for framing."

Stamford, CT
What a great idea! Something that could certainly make our neighborhood a nicer place.


  1. These Allston vs. Stamford photos are very compelling. There are similar examples in Cambridge and elsewhere of how these signal boxes can either detract from or decorate (and delight) a neighborhood. Many years ago, we proposed doing just such a project to the City of Boston (owners of the signal boxes). They rejected our request because they said that the boxes needed to be covered with the reflective metallic paint (I think so the innards would not overheat). Obviously, other cities have not fried their signal boxes so if someone would like to pursue this again, please contact Allston Village Main Streets and we can try to make a more persuasive case this time!

  2. If the flyers and globs of paint haven't caused them to overheat, a nice looking painting isn't going to either. It's probably a case of the utilities thinking: "I don't think I have the authority but I don't know who to ask and I'm lazy so I'll say no"