In one Tucson neighborhood, a collection of quirky creatures serves as a guardian of public safety.
Parrots and pooches, angels and aliens - all made of recycled bicycle parts and reflective material - adorn several traffic circles in the San Clemente Historic District, warning drivers to slow down.
The traffic circles were installed a decade or so ago at residents' expense to discourage speeding in the neighborhood. The sculptures help draw attention to their presence, especially at night.
"We thought it would be nice to have something a little different," said Matt Zoll, president of the San Clemente Neighborhood Association.
Zoll also happens to manage Pima County's bicycle and pedestrian program. Because of his interest in cycling, he knew of the local nonprofit BICAS - short for Bicycle Inter-Community Art & Salvage - where people create sculpture from old bike parts.
Zoll bought one of the pieces and showed it off to his neighbors. A trend was born.
"Matt brought one to a meeting and we all just fell in love," recalled Felicia Frontain, an association board member.
The sculptures also are a source of amusement for residents and visitors to the neighborhood south of Broadway and east of Alvernon Way.
In December, they sometimes sport Santa hats. In July, rabbits and lizards lounge in their shade.
Zoll once came across a couple from Nebraska who seemed especially interested in the sculptures. Turned out they were taking part in an Internet-based treasure hunt that had led them to the site through the global positioning system.
Occasionally, an errant driver will plow into one of the artworks, necessitating repair or replacement.
But overall, they've proven pretty sturdy, he said.
"They're whimsical and cute," Zoll said, "and they've served us well."
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