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He learned how to lay the paint in the 1980s using a Harley-Davidson motorcycle owned by the city. It overheated too much, he said, so the city switched to the three-wheel vehicles currently in use.
The small motorcade of vehicles drives around the city four nights a week in the warmer months, tackling up to 50 crosswalks in a shift. During the winter the team manufactures traffic signs. Potholes and oncoming traffic are the biggest frustrations during painting season.
“If you hit a bad hole, your line could look like it might hourglass,” said painter Joe Casey, referring to a line that narrows and widens. As he laid a strip across 1st Avenue, he took pains to ensure that the vehicle was lined up perfectly with the markings, then activated a nozzle attached to the side of the machine.
So is it frustrating to know your work will quickly disappear? “It never bothered me,” Mayfield said. “You know you’re going to have to redo stuff. That’s why they hire us.”
Eric Roper • 612-673-1732