City Department of Transportation crews showed their graffiti-busting bona fides at the Manhattan Bridge on Friday to fend off criticism that the agency was shirking its clean up duties.
State Sen. Tony Avella of Queens had complained that Mayor de Blasio and the DOT “cannot walk and chew gum at the same time” because they declined his request to issue a contract to hire cleaners for agency property like street lights and traffic signs.
The agency told Avella it was “difficult for DOT to expend many precious resources for the removal of graffiti at the expense of needed maintenance and transportation improvements.”
But as crews on Friday attacked graffiti in a bridge underpass with potent-smelling chemicals and hot water, Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said no money had been diverted from graffiti clean up of bridges and other structures. The DOT is working with the city's Economic Development Corporation on a $7 million removal effort,she said.
“We're working closely with them and identifying hot spots where we see a lot of graffiti," she said.
While the DOT is focused on Vision Zero street safety projects, she said, “the mayor also is a believer in the broken windows theory and is investing also to do graffiti clean up.”