Wow, what a cool find! Down here in the South Hills area of Pittsburgh there are quite a few roadsides that could use something pretty. Not much in the way of official planters to dig up, but I'm sure we could do something about the brushy, flowerless dirt along roadsides here... there are areas without sidewalks or very broken sidewalks and lots of people have worn bare paths through the waist-high weeds just barely out of reach of traffic - there's really no support for those who like to walk around here! Would be nice to tear some weeds out and put in some nice sturdy wildflowers, to make walking easier (and less stressful!).
One project I'd like to see tackled, even if I have to do it in tiny chunks by myself, is to improve the walking route from my home to my office. It's just under 3 miles, and along a major travel route without any sidewalk most of the way. The road runs 'round hills and over a creek so walking is perilous and at times requires walking in the road or crossing traffic to get to a safer walking path. Anyone have experience with digging out hillsides, short retaining walls, etc to improve walking conditions along Rt. 51? Even an extra foot of flat ground on the side of some of the hills would be much appreciated by those who walk there. I don't want this to become a dangerous project (would like to see it done correctly and beautifully), but the public works people have clearly not considered pedestrians, and someone needs to draw attention to the issues of walking even short distances here!
For now I think I'll start with my own road, though. We live on what the DPW classifies as a "tertiary route" (little more than an alley, and only barely wider than one), so it doesn't get plowed, let alone have any planters or regular weed cutting. The small cut in the hillside across from our front steps is eroding due to traffic driving up it in order to avoid parked vehicles, and what hasn't been driven over is just woody brush and vines - possibly some poison ivy. This summer I think it'll be my project area. Anyone know of a plant that will survive occasional run-ins with trucks? I was considering a vine to cover the chain-link fence that our neighbor has as well, but I'm not sure what I could plant that wouldn't be invasive and wouldn't damage the fence in case he decided it had to go.