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More public art debuts on Main Street

An articulated trolley on the 3 route, wrapped in a design by artist Germaine Koh for 88 BLOCKS, the Main Street public art program.

An articulated trolley on the 3 route, wrapped in a design by artist Germaine Koh for 88 BLOCKS, the Main Street public art program.

Look for a new art-wrapped trolley on the #3 Main route this August!

The trolley is part of the second installation in Main Street’s public art program, 88 BLOCKS • Art on Main.

Artist Germaine Koh is behind the second installation, and her project MAINstREetBUS focuses on the Main Street corridor itself.

The other side of Germaine Koh's art-wrapped bus!

The other side of Germaine Koh's art-wrapped bus!

Scenes of Main Street will be wrapped all over the bus, and the interior ad cards will feature a Main Street photo essay.

You can see the full wrap and the cards at Germaine’s MAINstREetBUS website. (Keep a close eye on the bus artwork — there are some Easter eggs hidden in there!)

Germaine also has a temporary art piece that will be placed along Main Street.

It’s called Waiting Room, and it’s a set of two wooden chairs installed into the pavement, so passers-by can sit down and enjoy a moment on the street.

If you hadn’t heard, 88 BLOCKS • Art on Main is part of the Main Street Urban Showcase project, an innovative transportation improvement program launched in 2004 and jointly funded by Transport Canada (through the Urban Transportation Showcase Program), TransLink and the City of Vancouver. (Visit the official Main Street Showcase page for more on the project.)

Art is just one of many measures in a broad package of improvements being installed to give people a better transportation experience on Main Street.

Urban design, new transit technology, and a fleet of new trolley buses all contribute to a more efficient transit system and make Main Street more welcoming for pedestrians and transit riders, in turn serving the ultimate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

If you’d like more public art, check out the posts on the first installation in 88 BLOCKS, from art collective Instant Coffee. They wrapped a bus in an afghan pattern, put SAD lights in a bus shelter, and installed a series of brightly-coloured sandwich boards bearing hand-painted slogans up and down Main Street.

And we’re planning for three more art installations in the 88 BLOCKS series over the next three years, with the program wrapping up by April 2011.


  • By ben K, August 24, 2009 @ 11:15 am

    New bus looks neat.

    Those Instant Coffee sandwich boards are sort of a pain in the ass (obstructing pedestrian traffic, but more condemnably, proclaiming limp and meaningless slogans with boring visual treatment). I notice that some of them have been postered and repainted ad hoc, which are actually more interesting. Perhaps that was obliquely part of the original experiment, in which case perhaps it has been somewhat successful.


  • By Dan, August 24, 2009 @ 4:34 pm

    Nice art. But when are they going to update all the transit maps for the Canada Line? They’ve had enough time and all.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, August 24, 2009 @ 4:37 pm

    Maps will be updated when the September 7 bus changes roll around.

  • By Derek Cheung, August 24, 2009 @ 7:56 pm

    It looks like the operator of the coach actually took the photos him/herself, as there isn’t an operator visible in the open front door, just an empty driver’s seat!

  • By Jim, August 25, 2009 @ 9:31 am

    Derek – Another plausible explaination for the lack of operator in the photograph is that he or she did not want to be photographed and thus moved out of the frame as the photgrapher took the photograph.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, August 25, 2009 @ 9:57 am

    I’ve asked Maureen Smith, the coordinator for the 88 Blocks program, and here’s the answer to why there’s no operator in the pictures:

    The trolley was actually not in service while we did our photo shoot on a Sunday morning, which allowed us to take our time and go to many different locations along Main Street to where the light conditions were most favourable. The shots you used in the blog were taken at the “pork chop” site at Main and 18th where there is a small triangle of park with grass and trees–this is not an actual bus stop, but we liked the relationship between the tree foliage and the camouflage pattern on the bus. While Germaine and I took photos the operator was often standing nearby just out of the shot. I asked the operator to put the “3 Main” sign on for the photos–to provide context. When we were moving along the corridor, he always changed it back to the “Not in Service” sign. Hope that helps.

  • By Sungsu, August 29, 2009 @ 7:52 am

    They’ve begun posting the updated maps. So far, only the entire system map is updated.

    Click on my name for a direct link.

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