A public road is no place for a BLM mural (Opinion)
This is one of the dumbest stories I’ve seen.
Six months ago MLK Blvd. in Atlantic City had a mural painted of yellow block letters spelling out BLACK LIVES MATTER. It was right on the road. From one side of the street clear to the other. Stupid thing is it was allowed to be painted right overtop of existing and important street markings. Markings such as the double yellow line separating opposed traffic.
Seriously folks? You didn’t know there would be an issue?
Drivers couldn’t see lane markings. Not just the double yellow lines but things like left turn only lane markings. What brain trust thought this would be okay?
It gets even more ridiculous. A city councilman Jesse Kurtz told NJ.com, “In order to do some type of decorative arrangement on the pavement, you have to have DOT approval...It ended up violating the DOT standards and also created a hazardous condition. It looks like the necessary approvals or review never happened beforehand. So when they did, and the DOT saw, they ended up having to shut the street down to traffic... Whatever is going to be done in the future, we really need to involve all the parties to figure out what makes sense.”
But through spokesperson Steve Schapiro the DOT says, “NJDOT does not have a permit process for painting roadway markings or murals, and we have not been in contact with Atlantic City on this particular issue, which involves a local road that is not under NJDOT jurisdiction.”
So does ANYONE in Atlantic City know what the heck they’re doing? Now it’s announced the city is spending $36,000 to redo it. They’re going to make the letters smaller so they fit without covering up lane markings.
How about just take away the mural entirely?
Look, I’m not one of those white guys who thinks Black Lives Matter is a terrorist organization. Some involved with the group have called for violence, but the mission itself to call attention to the problem of excessive police force sometimes being used on black people is valid. While I believe many of the cases the group says were problematic actually were not, there are some, such as the George Floyd case, which were.
But none of that is the point.
Our public streets should not be taken over by murals for causes. And before you call me a white supremacist (fun fact, I’m not), I feel the same about the blue lines that towns have painted in between the double yellow lines on roads to represent police support. These have also proven problematic as they render the traffic marking legally inviable.
Leave our roads free from making your political or social statements. It’s not what they’re there for.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.