chicago – Chicago-area highways will be cleaned after graffiti explodes on the road.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) said crews will be working Wednesday and Thursday nights to defuse some of the vandalism.
Drivers are warned to be aware of work areas between 10pm and 5am
A Chicago city councilman and community activist said the graffiti had embarrassed the city. Driving down Chicago’s freeways, you don’t have to struggle to spot a problem.
Graffiti is everywhere: walls, bridge supports, barricades and seemingly inaccessible places. It’s especially bad at Jane Byrne interchange, where the construction zone creates open space for marker makers.
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“How do you feel when you go to the Jane Byrne overpass, you see all this graffiti, and it’s sitting there. It’s ridiculous,” said community activist Michael LaFargue, a real estate agent.
Alder. Raymond Lopez (No. 15) has been tweeting about freeway graffiti, saying it sends a bad message to Chicago visitors and residents.
“It has a very negative perception of our city. It doesn’t show that we are welcoming, clean and open for business. It has a very negative impact on how people perceive our city,” Lopez said.
IDOT spokeswoman Maria Castaneda admits they struggle to keep up with all the labels.
“It’s definitely an ongoing problem,” Castaneda said.
Castaneda said taggers are more aggressive than ever, often attacking again hours after the graffiti has been erased.
“Once we removed the graffiti, within a few days, some people actually saw it the same night … graffiti artists put graffiti at the same time they removed it,” Castaneda said.
Urban communities have also seen an explosion in graffiti, Lopez said.
“It seems to be everywhere. The city of Chicago doesn’t seem to have a single policy that addresses this problem uniformly,” Lopez said.