MTA LIRR Partnering With 'NYC Community Cleanup' to Remove Graffiti from Railroad Property

Non-Profit Group Painting LIRR Bridge Abutments in Queens

A non-profit community group that has earned accolades for efforts to keep New York City clean is sending work crews out to help MTA Long Island Rail Road undo the unsightly work of graffiti vandals scarring LIRR bridges, most in Greater Jamaica.

Before Photo of Graffitti Cleanup of Railroad Property

The LIRR is partnering in the pilot program with NYC Community Cleanup, an organization that targets litter and vandalism by deploying non-violent offenders doing community service time. NYC Community Cleanup is a creation of the Center for Court Innovation in partnership with the state Office of Court Administration, the Office of the Mayor's Criminal Justice Coordinator and the Queens District Attorney and it develops innovative approaches to public safety problems.

"We are grateful to the Center for Court Innovation, the Mayor's office and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown for the work performed by NYC Community Cleanup crews," said LIRR President Helena Williams. "This innovative approach has allowed the LIRR to address community concerns about graffiti at minimal cost to the Railroad."

Deputy Project Director of NYC Community Cleanup Benjamin Smith said: "The goal of NYC Community Cleanup is to promote accountability for minor crime and ensure that community service is meaningful, immediate, and visible, and helps to enhance quality of life in those neighborhoods it impacts."

In recent weeks, NYC Community Cleanup crews have painted over graffiti on the street level, concrete abutments of ten LIRR bridges, most in the Greater Jamaica area. When the pilot program is complete, the list of freshly painted bridges will include:

  • 177th St. Bridge North between 93rd Ave. and Liberty Ave.
  • 177th St. Bridge South between 93rd Ave. and Liberty Ave.
  • 202nd St. Bridge between 201st St. and 99th Ave.
  • Beaver Rd. Bridge between Archer Ave. and 94th Ave.
  • 170th St. Bridge between 93rd Ave. and Douglas Ave.
  • Baisley Blvd. Bridge between 180th St. and Montauk St.
  • 195th St. Bridge North between Sagamore Ave. and 99th Ave.
  • 195th St. Bridge South between Sagamore Ave. and 99th Ave.
  • 143rd St. Bridge between Archer Ave. and 94th St
  • Hempstead Turnpike Bridge between Jamaica Ave. and 98th Ave.
  • 39th Ave. Bridge at Francis Lewis Blvd.

As the attached photographs show, the transformation at each of the completed sites has been significant. At each site, the LIRR provides supervision while workers from NYC Community Cleanup provide the elbow grease. The group also works to keep each site graffiti free by responding quickly to paint over any new tagging by vandals.

NYC Community Cleanup is supported by criminal justice funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The group employs supervisors to direct work crews comprised of low-level offenders sentenced by judges to community service for non-violent offenses. In addition to outdoor painting, clearing garbage-strewn lots, littered streets and sidewalks, the group's services include indoor services such as mopping, vacuuming, painting, furniture polishing, window washing, floor waxing and floor buffing.

Work crews are highly visible. Participants wear special vests and jump suits and display special signage advertising that they are part of NYC Community Cleanup.

All NYC Community Cleanup participants are offered links to social services - drug treatment, job training, and counseling. Any individual who does not complete community service as ordered is referred back to court for re-sentencing.

New Yorkers can email NYC Community Cleanup at to suggest locations for possible projects.

170th ST & 93rd Avenue (Before)


170th ST & 93rd Avenue (After)



177th Street between 93rd and Liberty Avenue (Before)


177th Street between 93rd and Liberty Avenue (After)



202nd Street between 201st Street & 99th Avenue (Before)


202nd Street between 201st Street & 99th Avenue (After)



Baisley Boulevard & 180th Street (Before)


Baisley Boulevard & 180th Street (After)



Beaver Road (Before)


Beaver Road (After)



Francis Lewis Blvd & 39th Avenue (Before)


Francis Lewis Blvd & 39th Avenue (After)