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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

DOT cries foul

State agency defends itself over graffiti gripes
By Brian McCready
Milford Bureau Chief
— The state Department of Transportation has been unfairly vilified for not removing graffiti in a timely manner from its Old Gate Lane railroad bridge, an agency spokesman said.
DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick said criticism the agency received from some city officials was unjust, as state officials learned of the graffiti on a recent Monday and by the end of that week it had been power-washed away.
“We have a longstanding good neighbor policy,” Nursick said. “We take care of issues like that.”
While the DOT removed graffiti from its property, the city is dealing with graffiti on some road signs, buildings and playgrounds.
Mayor James L. Richetelli Jr. said Department of Public Works officials had previously notified DOT employees in Milford about the graffiti, but added it’s possible that information was not passed on to the DOT in Hartford.
Alderman Robert Nunno, D-5, and aldermanic Chairman Ben Blake, D-5, both publicly raised concerns late last month that the DOT had not removed graffiti from the Old Gate Lane railroad bridge.
Nunno and Blake questioned whether the DOT might be in violation of the city’s new graffiti ordinance that mandates property owners remove graffiti or face possible fines.
Yet Nursick said neither city official’s public comments nor the city’s graffiti ordinance had anything to do with the agency removing the bridge graffiti. He said the DOT maintenance staff reviews properties to ensure removal of graffiti from structures.
“We can’t do something about it unless we know about it,” Nursick said. “Folks need to give us a fair shake. This was a pretty quick turnaround.”
He said the DOT is responsible for 10,000 miles of roads, along with the railroads and bus routes.
Richetelli said graffiti is a “priority” for the city, and when it’s spotted, cleanup crews are immediately sent out.
“If it’s private property, it’s our hope that the person will have enough pride to remove it,” Richetelli said. “If not, we’ll remind them.”
Blake said graffiti on the Old Gate Lane railroad bridge had been there for some time.
“It doesn’t seem realistic that the DOT was not alerted to it,” Blake said. “There are DOT folks down there all the time.”
But Blake added that the city also must be responsible in ensuring graffiti is removed from it’s properties.
“We want to make sure our government is held to the same standard as our private businesses are,” Blake said.
Richetelli said overall the city has been successful in cracking down on graffiti.
“There’s been a marked decrease in graffiti from this year to last year,” Richetelli said.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure what happened here - however, it would be nice if the Telephone pole on the corner of New Haven Ave and Old Gate lane was moved out of the middle of the road - How about something about the drainage issue under the bridge?
I guess the residents in this area do not deserve to have these problems addressed.
While I am at it - when will the paving of Old Gate lane be completed?

May 6, 2008 at 3:09 PM 

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