Cultural Corridor / Urban Flow - CODAworx

Cultural Corridor / Urban Flow


Location: Oakland, CA, United States

Completion date: 2020

Artwork budget: $1,500,000

Project Team

Lead Artist

Johanna Poethig

Poethig/Howard/Richards/Hsu Artist Team

Lead Artist

Mildred Howard

Poethig/Howard/Richards/Hsu Artist Team


Joyce Hsu

Poethig/Howard/Richards/Hsu Artist Team


Peter Richards

Poethig/Howard/Richards/Hsu Artist Team


A 9mile ribbon of words with neighborhood iconography created with Lead Artist Johanna Poethig, Mildred Howard, Peter Richards, Joyce Hsu unfolds across the new AC Transit Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Line that connects downtown Oakland, International Boulevard, to San Leandro. 256, each one unique, 34″ x 50″ x 1″ laser cut and tnemec painted metal handrail panels are set in variable lengths and integrated into the 46 platforms of 34 Stations along this transportation corridor. Each Station handrail spells out a connecting haiku-like poem juxtaposed with images drawn from the neighborhood. Light responsive metal honeycomb-hex, polyurethane panels, 80″ x 60″ x 2″ designed for the Enhanced Stations, punctuate the lively visual environment as they respond to people and vehicles moving by. Each Station is a landmark riffing on the unique cultural and social environment of the surrounding neighborhood. Cultural Corridor/Urban Flow considers transportation in the context of all the human constructed systems which enable us to live and prosper on this planet.


The East Bay Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), called Tempo, is about connecting people and places more efficiently. The BRT Tempo is a high-capacity rapid transit system that runs 9.5 miles from Uptown Oakland to the San Leandro BART Station. This significant public transit upgrade brings new lighting, art, parking, and pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements to the entire length of International Boulevard. Tempo’s 46 curbside and center median stations are the juncture of form, function, and modern art. The art of station handrails and windscreens depict generations of culture, heritage, and industry, along Tempo’s corridor with a miles-long poem. The commitment to riders along International Boulevard and East 14th Street is reflected in this artwork “Cultural Corridor/Urban Flow” and the way it not only integrates into the station design but into each neighborhood. Cultural Corridor/Urban Flow establishes points of connection for the public as they move through these historically evolving neighborhoods. An unfolding history of the past and present will be informed by the cultural identity of the people who have lived and do live there now.


Workshops were held with Oakland’s “Youth Uprising”, San Leandro residents and the broader community through a visual and poetic mapping of the areas. This informed, inspired and guided the artists design process. The social and visual landscape changes along the route as the buses travel from downtown Oakland, by Lake Merritt, through Chinatown passing the Inter Tribal Friendship House, Southeast Asian businesses, colorful homes, into the activity of Fruitvale’s Latino community, by the airport and the home of Oakland’s oldest Motorcycle Club The East Bay Dragons, stopping at local churches, the Rainbow Rec Center and through the heart of East Oakland, the focus of much needed economic development efforts. The BRT Tempo moves through San Leandro, passing through downtown by its Civic Center and at the BART Station. Each neighborhood is defined by a color palette, words in several languages that describe the area, images that draw from the architecture, history, landscape or culture. This extensive research was mapped into an elaborate matrix so enable the art to be tracked and in the long run be maintained by the transportation agency.

Additional Information

This project is unique in its design is not just for one station but the entire ACT BRT TEMPO bus line. Integration with AC Transit Branding/ Architectural/ Landscaping design includes the design of the TEMPO bus graphics, the flow of traffic and multiple points of viewing the artwork. This contributes to unifying all the Stations through the use of materials, iconography, text, color.