We’ve made a number of suggestions in past editorials for dealing with graffiti in Schenectady — a growing problem that Commissioner of General Services Carl Olsen says he doesn’t have the money or manpower to keep up with. Last Sunday 10 residents of the Stockade and East Front Street came up with their own solution. They bought their own paint, brought their own ladders, and painted over the graffiti on a couple of railroad bridges — bridges and other high structures being the Holy Grail of the graffiti “artist.”
The volunteers used regular primer to cover the graffiti, which cost them $100. And they will probably have to do it again soon, as Olsen says his crews have had to do when they’ve painted these bridges and other graffiti hotspots.
It’s worth the expense and effort because graffiti scrawls are ugly and intimidating and degrade the city’s quality of life. But it doesn’t have to be the exercise in futility that it is. Apparently there’s a special paint from which graffiti can be easily removed by sponging or power washing. It’s about six times as expensive as regular paint — but unlike regular paint wouldn’t have to be applied over and over again.
If the Stockade residents, or another neighborhood group, are willing to supply the labor, the city should spring for the money — at least on a few bridges or buildings as an experiment. Why not give it a try and see if it works?