Shoefiti in Newark

For those of you who follow shoefiti as closely as I do (LOL) it should come as no surprise to hear that Newark, New Jersey has a shoefiti problem on their hands.

I had a chance to discuss New Jersey’s shoefiti issue with a reporter from The Star Ledger last week for an article that ran today. One of the things I tried to get across was that it doesn’t really matter why they ended up on the lines of people’s perception is negative:

Shoe mystery hangs over city – NJ.com

What counts most is how the community feels about the shoes.

“If the perception is people associate it with blight, it’s got to come down because people will feel less safe,” said Kohler.

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced with getting shoes removed from powerlines locally has been dealing with Xcel Energy. As I understand it, they have a policy of “driver’s discretion” for dealing with items on powerlines that aren’t interfering with power. While that’s understandable, they way it’s applied is to remove shoes from lines in the nicer areas of Minneapolis while leaving them up in the tougher neighborhoods, thus inadvertently contributing to the blight of areas that need the most help.

Swap out Xcel Energy for Verizon to see how this applies in Newark:

Verizon doesn’t take the shoe issue as seriously as Waldrop. Rich Young, a spokesman, said the shoes are taken down if they are causing problems with the network, if they get a complaint or if a technician just happens to be working near an airborne pair.

“In general we do not send out technicians on patrol looking for sneakers,” said Young. “This is a problem all over the state. We would need a small army of technicians dedicated to shoe removal.”

The old, “Sure, they’re our lines, but we’re not responsible for them.” routine.

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