When the Hill & Harbour Neighborhood Association (HHNA) formed in 2016, the London Street Underpass (aka “the luge”) was high on their list of priorities. The graffiti-covered, trash-strewn walkway under the train tracks that connects London Street to the water has been an eyesore for years. Poor lighting and blind corners caused some to avoid it all together, seeing it as unsafe.
For more than a decade, the town and then the EG Housing Authority ran a graffiti contest at the underpass, taking the attitude that if you can’t beat ‘em, let ‘em at least do it legally.
But when the walls were tagged almost immediately after the contest in 2013, the housing authority abandoned that effort.
Since then, the town would occasionally paint over the graffiti but it wasn’t until the HHNA took on the underpass project that new ideas began to circulate. The town implemented the first such idea earlier this summer, when they covered the walls (and removed a hazardous broken railing) with washable paint.
On a recent walk through the underpass, it was nearly completely clean of graffiti. Apparently, the town has not had to wash the walls yet but that’s partly because someone who lives nearby has taken it upon herself to wash off offensive graffiti, according to someone who works for the town.
There is a bit of graffiti on the ramp leading to the water side, but even with just a wet finger, that paint started coming off.
The paint alone does not solve lighting and safety concerns. The HHNA is raising money for cameras, mirrors, and lighting for the underpass. Money from the EG Chamber of Commerce’s Taste of EG kickoff last fall went to the project and area businesses have donated as well.
The HHNA – open to residents and business owners of the Hill & Harbour area – accepts donations. Learn more at eghhna.org, or visit their Facebook page (facebook.com/eghhna).
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