ocala avenue northbound – blossoms and flowers

the vast orchards that once covered the santa clara valley stretched till this area and the adjacent foothills. just up the hill from the ocala avenue bus station you can still find what must be one of the last apricot orchard remaining. today, the area is subdivided, and a mainly vietnamese community settled in this neighborhood.

the patterns allude to the flower traditions alive in the local community: plum, apricot and peach branches are part of tet, the vietnamese new year celebration. the origami lotus flower is inspired by an encounter with a nun at the nearby duc vien buddhist community pagoda, where she demonstrated how to fold an origami lotus flower, an important symbol in buddhist tradition.

pattern concept development with corinne takara, information provided by mai truong and duc vien buddhist community pagoda.

ocala avenue southbound – propeller planes

this shelter is located adjacent to the reid-hillview airport, which is home to a large number of small propeller aircraft. the airport was built in 1937, and encompasses currently 179 acres of land. it hosts more than 250,000 arrivals and departures every year on its two runways.

during wwII all airports within a certain distance from the coast had to move their planes further inland. reid-hillview airport removed the propellers from the planes and thus cleverly was able to negotiate keeping the planes stored at the airport. playing off this story, the art patterns at this shelter are composed of various propeller types that are arranged to form delicate patterns reminiscent of typical craft patterns, which were recorded in the surrounding neighborhood.

pattern concept development with corinne takara;  information provided by sharon & frank sweeney and carl honaker at reid-hillview airport;

story road northbound – stories & fairytales

in 1851, alanson story established a 380 acre farm at a location that is now south of story, east of king road. this was the first farm located in the area. story road was named after his homestead. most likely inspired by the name of story road, the subdivision of the area that followed about 100 years later chose story book names for street names, including bambi lane, cinderella lane, and peter pan avenue.

intrigued by memories of community members, we found several fairytale like images in various locations around the area: the storybook topic is referenced with a quinceañera cinderella carriage (as recorded in front of a local store), pulled by the deer and surrounded by vines found on an old cast-iron stove at the hyuck school, the first school in alum rock. although now only a memory, the sign from the neighborhood’s grocery store “story-book market” makes an appearance as well.

pattern concept development with corinne takara, information provided by tanya freudenberger and xavier campos.

story road southbound – low riding

the suburban development of east san jose after wwII was influenced by car culture: drive-in theaters, bowling alleys, drive-in diners, shopping centers and super markets – all designed around the use of cars – represented modern living and generated the urban layout of the city.

today, car culture is still an important part of east san jose’s identity. it is especially visible in the lowrider culture. the first low rider club in san jose was founded in 1974. within five years there were more than 40 car clubs on the east side of san jose. story road and king road became the epicenter of the local low rider culture. kandy-colored paint schemes (colorful paint over metallic backgrounds) on cars dating back to the 50s, 60s and 70s along with lowered suspension systems are elaborate expressions of this culture. annual boulevard nights in san jose continue to be the biggest cruise night in northern california. lowriders from all over meet up at a parking lot at story rd and white rd to share their passion.

the patterns at this shelter mimic classic detailed car paint designs. the ceiling pattern was executed by raul delgado, a local artist who has made his name as painter of lowrider cars. pavers depict automotive engine and suspension parts as would be seen under the hood of a low-rider car.

information provided by abraham ortega


alum rock southbound – come visit little yosemite!

alum rock park, also dubbed “little yosemite”, is located in the foothills of san jose at the end of alum rock avenue.

founded in 1872, it is california’s oldest municipal park. from 1890 to 1932 it was a nationally known health spa with 27 mineral springs, an indoor swimming pool, tea garden, restaurant, and dance pavilion.

the alum rock railroad once ran from downtown san jose (starting at santa clara street and mclaughlin avenue) along alum rock avenue and ultimately to alum rock park. a round trip cost 25 cents. starting operation in 1896 as a steam railroad, the railroad was upgraded to an electric system in 1901 and ceased operation in 1931 due to increased car ownership in the area. a portion of today’s brt line follows the alignment of the original railroad.

the patterns at this shelter are inspired by vintage postcards of the alum rock park, the alum rock railroad, and of the thenardite crystals found at the park – the crystals were originally mistaken for alum and gave the park the name. all elements are arranged in a pattern similar to a victorian era wallpaper, referencing the time of the park’s heyday. a topographic map of alum rock park provided the inspiration for the paving pattern.

information provided by the california history center foundation, history san jose, and the california room of the san jose public library;


alum rock avenue northbound – charros & bullfighters

the mexican tradition of charreada is a competition similar to rodeo. the tradition is still alive in the neighborhood and adjoining foothills, as evidenced by the “el rodeo” store at alum rock & white that sells clothing and paraphernalia related to the sport. we also interviewed a former mexican bullfighter turned writer residing in the area (rudy tenes, “hand to hand”).

norteño music is often performed at charreada events. this type of music is related to polka and corridos, with the accordion and bajo sexto six-string bass guitar among its characteristic instruments. the band “los tigres del norte” is one of the most acclaimed norteño bands nationally. its band members reside in the east san jose foothills. the band has won five latin grammy awards and sold 32 million records.

the patterns at this station evoke the topic of charreada with a charro’s silhouette and coiled lassoes on the pavers, while the patterns on ceiling and windscreen are laid out in the shape of wide brimmed sombreros, featuring norteño instruments and items related to the charro tradition.

information provided by darlene, rudy and lily tenes