By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
For a $15 toll you’d think they’d clean the graffiti! That’s the sentiment expressed by a Bay Ridge City Council candidate who said he thinks it’s terrible that motorists traveling on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge pay a $15 toll going to Staten Island and then have to see ugly graffiti at the exit ramp on their way back to Brooklyn.
Republican John Quaglione, who is running for the City Council seat in the 43rd District (Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) against incumbent Democrat Vincent Gentile, said graffiti “decorates” the base of the exit ramp leading onto the Belt Parkway at Fourth Avenue. “You certainly pay enough to drive on the bridge. The $15 toll should also cover the cost of cleaning the graffiti,” he told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority should do something about it, according to Quaglione, who said he reached out to MTA Bridges and Tunnels, which oversees operations on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
In a letter to the agency, Quaglione wrote that the “tremendous amount” of graffiti greeting drivers at Fourth Avenue and 100th Street, serves “as nothing more than a very bad ‘Welcome’ sign to many."
A better maintenance system should be put in place, Quaglione said. “What are we paying all this money for, if they can’t even keep the Bridge clean? I know we can do better, and for the sake of the quality of life of this community, I ask the MTA to make removing this graffiti a priority,” he said.
On June 19, Quaglione said he received an answer from an MTA official, who informed him that the maintenance superintendent at the bridge had been contacted and that the graffiti would be removed.
“Keep in mind we are diligent in our maintenance duties and always good neighbors to the communities surrounding our facility on both sides. We plant trees, prune overgrown landscaping (some of it not even our property), etc.,” the official wrote.