Street spam is all over Northern Queens and there’s nothing appetizing about it.
Also known as vertical litter, street spam is illegal signs glued to utility poles, bridges and other public areas. Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) wants something done about it.
In a survey made by his office, a total of 150 signs and stickers were discovered in Braunstein’s district. “They are insulting and trash our neighborhoods,” the assemblyman said. “And once they are on your radar, you can’t help but notice how many there are.”
He reported the locations to the Department of Sanitation and so far is happy with the agency’s work to remove them. Officials at Sanitation tell residents not to take down the signs themselves, but to call 311. The city then notifies the agency to photograph the location, remove the sign and try to fine the perpetrator.
But collecting fines can be problematic. According to Citizens Against Ugly Street Spam, a website dedicated to the removal of the illegal signs, many of the perpetrators use unlisted mobile phone numbers, called bandit numbers, and are hard to trace.
If the signs are placed too high or the adhesive is too strong to remove, Sanitation refers the locations to the Department of Transportation or the MTA if a train trestle is involved.
Dave Fischer, spokesman for Braunstein, said he is following up with the DOT on removals. Fisher added that the worst offender is “cars for cash” signs, “which are everywhere throughout the city.”
Braunstein believes Sanitation is doing its best to remove the offending signs with limited resources. He wants to lean on City Council members to get involved in the issue and possibly conduct a sting to locate and fine the offenders.