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Low Rider Culture at the Story Road Southbound BRT Station

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This post is part of a series about the public art installed throughout the Alum Rock-Santa Clara Bus Rapid Transit project. Artists Claudia and Franka of Merge Conceptual Design were the lead artists responsible for developing the art based on extensive research and community involvement. The project will provide just over 7 miles of rapid transit service from the Eastridge Transit Center to downtown San Jose.

The design of the Story Road southbound station of the Alum Rock-Santa Clara Bus Rapid Transit project was inspired by the low rider custom car culture that is an important and vibrant part of this East San Jose neighborhood’s identity. The station is now serving Rapid 522 Blue customers.

The artists’ enhanced paver design depicts an automotive engine as seen under the hood of a low-rider car while the windscreen and ceiling, the latter enhanced by San Jose artist Raul Delgado, depict classic detailed car paint designs.

“It’s my backyard, I live right there in that area,” said Delgado, whose son Nathan Cruz is shown in the photo (courtesy Aracely Mejia) that accompanies this article. “I have to make time for it because it’s something that’s going to be there for the community. I can have my son look at it. I think it fits perfectly into the area. The people that know San Jose know.”

Delgado said his friends and nephews have been excited about the art as he shared photos of its progress on Facebook. His hope, he says, is that people will admire, respect and appreciate the work.

Car Culture was an important aspect of the American identity when neighborhoods in East San Jose developed in the 1940s and 1950s. From drive-in-movie theaters to drive-in diners, a distinguished low rider culture emerged which included a distinct aesthetic.

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 and King roads became the epicenter of the local low rider culture.

Today, while cars are still important in East San Jose many residents rely on VTA transit, walking and biking to get around. This project will bring them not only artfully designed, community-oriented stations but also a new fast, frequent and reliable service.

Learn about the public art throughout the Alum Rock-Santa Clara Bus Rapid Transit project, including a virtual tour, or find out more about the future service on the project’s web page.

What do you think of the artwork? Tag @SCVTA on Instagram, mention @VTA on Twitter, or post a photo on our Facebook page the next time you use the new Story Road southbound station!

 

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