Maryland Office of Public Apology
Route 40 is a heavily trafficked highway leading to Baltimore’s city center. It bisects two neighborhoods and over time a footpath has emerged at a popular crossing point on the median. Whole families with baby strollers can be seen traversing this high-speed artery. The authorities’ solution to this problem was to install a long fence to deter foot traffic. Soon thereafter, a human-sized hole was ripped where fence and path intersected. The fence was later removed, but to date no pedestrian overpass has replaced it. It seemed appropriate to approach this matter with an apology. Aluminum signs with an “official” apology were erected on both sides of the path. The recognizable City of Baltimore symbol was redesigned as the logo for the Maryland Office of Public Apology. While cars rushing by would not be able to detect the difference, only pedestrians would realize that this was not the authentic city seal. Printed on the sign and on business cards for the taking were the phone numbers of Baltimore’s mayor and officials of the two affected districts, Poppleton and Heritage Crossing. The intention was to ignite an initiative amongst neighbors, to create a platform for local discussion and press coverage of the pedestrian crisis in Baltimore and Washington DC.