Wednesday, November 29, 2006


I read an article recently about how much effort the City of Pittsburgh goes through to clean up graffiti. Apparently, however, the Eliza Furnace Trail doesn't get that sort of attention. Sure, occasionally the trucks will come through a paint over a section of concrete but they only seem to focus on the "inappropriate" things and the taggers look on the paint as a blank canvas on which to begin again.

Several years ago, I witnessed several vandals with backpacks full of spray cans having a good time on the trail. I called 911 to report them. After a while, when nothing seemed to be done by the authorities, I called them back only to be informed that they weren't coming. It turned out that Mayor Tom Murphy had recently made a public statement about believing that the abutment along the Eliza Furnace Trail was PennDOT responsibility and the City wasn't going to be taking any responsibility for it. The vandals would go out in broad daylight to paint armed with a xerox copy of the Mayor's statement essentially giving them carte blanche to do as they pleased.

With that freedom, they painted and continue to paint everything. The abutments and bridge pylons. The garbage cans. The signs. The trail surface itself. I have no doubt that once the Hot Metal Bridge opens to pedestrian and bike traffic, all the effort construction crews are engaged in now sandblasting the structure will be marred by this plague.
Vandalized Trail Map

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