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Shoes on Overhead Wires, Highway 101 eyesore

Original post made by Bill, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park, on Feb 8, 2009

Anyone else notice the sneakers on the overhead wires on HY 101 southbound before Marsh?

Caltrans has a "Maintenance Service Request" web page at:

Web Link

If they get enough requests, maybe Caltrans will remove the shoes.
(relevant info: HY 101, San Mateo County, Redwood City, X-st Marsh Road, Southbound, category Graffiti or Litter)

Shoe flinging is a form of graffiti and vandalism: Just as with graffiti, removing the offending eyesore is the way to keep the problem from getting out of hand. I know, I know - Caltrans is short of money, but it will cost more in the long run if copycats fling more shoes onto overhead wires.

Probably this is just a juvenile prank, but at worst shoes on wires mark gang territory. Copycats risk their own safety and the safety of traffic while flinging the shoes up there. And if left untouched, the shoes will eventually fall down, with some chance of injuring someone in 70 mph traffic.

The city of Chicago (police and street maintenance)takes shoes on wires "very seriously" and through abatement saw a 50% drop in the incidence of such vandalism. See
Web Link

Abating graffiti and vandalism is important, and constructive suggestions are welcome. Who else should we contact?

Comments (9)

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Posted by not in my backyard
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Feb 9, 2009 at 4:07 pm

i just sent a request. Thanks for posting the quick link to report. I agree they should be removed.

Like this comment
Posted by clean up the litter
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Feb 11, 2009 at 7:22 am

Traditional "sneakers on wires" is a form of bullying. Boys steal another boy's shoes, and toss them up on wires for all the rest of the kids to see. The HY 101 thing must be older teens or adults. Shoes on wires mark a blighted area. Maybe it is a small thing, but I don't want the Peninsula 101 corridor to look blighted.

Like this comment
Posted by what I heard
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 11, 2009 at 4:45 pm

I was told years ago, that "shoes on wires" designated a spot for obtaining drugs. Anyone else confirm that?

Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 11, 2009 at 7:26 pm

I was surprised to find that Caltrans gave a reply:

"Below is a response to your request from District 4, Division of
This area was checked on February 4th. It was found that the shoes in
question were hanging on AT&T wiring. John at the AT&T dispatch center was notified of the shoes and their possible hazard.
Thank you for using the Maintenance Service Request Program."

So it is AT&T wiring. AT&T in general does not want tree branches, junk, wet shoes etc. weighing down their lines in windy winter weather, so it is in their interest to fix it. I hope.

Like this comment
Posted by back seat driver
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 11, 2009 at 10:15 pm

Shouldn't you keep your eyes on the road? Especially on 101!

Like this comment
Posted by long arm of the law
a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2009 at 6:45 am

Graffiti and vandalism are both crimes. Call 911 to report graffiti in progress.

Old graffiti or vandalism should be reported to a non-emergency law enforcement number. For a state highway, call:
1-800-TellChp (California Highway Patrol non-emergency)

Another agency involved is the San Mateo County Public Works Graffiti Abatement Program at (650) 312-5310. Businesses are responsible for maintaining their property and abating graffiti.

If the incident was likely gang activity, report it to the San Mateo County Gang Intelligence Sheriff's Office Unit on their web page:
Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Carmen Fuego
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 12, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Shoes land on overhead wires when the wearer spontaneously combusts. Spontaneous human combustion is real!

Like this comment
Posted by Palo Alto
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 13, 2009 at 10:53 am

On a related note, Palo Alto has a program to clean up graffiti and below is the info from their website:

"To Report Graffiti (Tagging)
Citizen involvement is the vital link between City staff and the residents of Palo Alto. Citizens and businesses may report graffiti to our offices by calling 650-496-6974 .
Under City guidelines, all graffiti tags are removed from City property within five working days; offensive tags are removed within two working days. The City may help with the removal of graffiti on private property on a case-by-case basis. The City initiated and maintains agreements with local agencies, e.g., Santa Clara Valley Water District, CalTrain, Santa Clara County, to remove graffiti from their properties."

Like this comment
Posted by get a life
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 15, 2009 at 2:10 am

get a life, really, get a life!

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