New Beacon Hill Bike Trail Becomes Latest Graffiti Hotspot

A new bike trail along the north end of Beacon Hill has become the latest battleground for Seattle’s war on graffiti.

This summer, work crews cut down bushes and removed a fence along the north side of Dr. Jose Rizal Park to make way for the Mountain to Sound Trail—which stretches from Ellensburg to Seattle—granting graffiti writers and taggers easy access to a massive retaining wall, visible from both Interstate 5 and Interstate 90.

Already, Seattle Public Utilities spokeswoman Susan Stoltzfus says, the highly-visible wall has become SPU’s “biggest area of concern.” [pullquote]”We’re hoping the taggers go away and get discouraged,” she says, “because we’re not going to let them win.”[/pullquote]

Two weeks ago, Seattle Public Utilities’ Graffiti Rangers took responsibility for graffiti abatement along the trail as part of a somewhat convoluted agreement between the Washington State Department of Transportation, Seattle Department of Transportation, and SPU. Already, the wall has required a “really high level of maintenance” from the Rangers, according to Stoltzfus.

“We check it every day, and we’ve been painting it over every other day for the last two weeks,” Stoltzfus says. “There are other [graffiti hot spots] in the city,  but not one that has been covered as frequently and to such an extent.”

Stoltzfus says the city will continue painting over the giant block letters which keep re-appearing on the retaining wall until the taggers and artists give up. “We’re hoping the taggers go away and get discouraged,” she says, “because we’re not going to let them win.”

Stoltzfus did not immediately have information available on the costs of the repeated anti-graffiti painting at the site. We’ve got a call in to SDOT to see if they’ve got any info on cleanup costs.

Photo by WSDOT