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Atlantic City to spend $36G, repaint Black Lives Matter street mural that left drivers confused

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A Black Lives Matter pavement mural that covered both sides of a street in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in yellow paint, obscuring yellow lane markers, will be repainted for safety reasons, the city said.

The job, which will include repaving a stretch of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, will cost the city $36,000, according to reports.

The sheer amount of yellow paint on the street was confusing drivers, many of whom didn’t know where to drive on the road, according to officials. Police said the mural was so problematic that the street had to be blocked off to motorists on either end with barriers.

The words both obscured the double yellow median line and the broken white lines on the street.

Mayor Marty Small said the words will be repainted on the street, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in the city’s downtown, in a way that doesn’t interfere with lane markers.

“We tried to work through the issue with the Department of Transportation,” Small said of the original paint job, according to The Press of Atlantic City. “The street was too big to make a one-way. It was an oversight on our part, and when we realized it, we fixed it. The words ‘Black Lives Matter’ will still be on the street.”

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Volunteers Christine Ruth and Jenna Alcantara apply paint to a Black Lives Matter mural on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Atlantic City, N.J., Sept. 4, 2020. (Associated Press)

Volunteers Christine Ruth and Jenna Alcantara apply paint to a Black Lives Matter mural on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Atlantic City, N.J., Sept. 4, 2020. (Associated Press)

The mural was a compromise between Black Lives Matter activists who wanted it painted on the famous Atlantic City boardwalk and city officials who refused that idea.

On Wednesday, the City Council voted to spend $36,000 to repave the street. The road needs to be repaved because the type of paint used in the display cannot be painted over, officials said.

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Acting Police Chief James Sarkos told the council Wednesday night that the mural violated state Department of Transportation regulations.

City Council member LaToya Dunston, who voted against the measure, accused the city of wasting taxpayer dollars by painting the road without knowing the rules governing it, according to The Press of Atlantic City.

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The mural was painted last September with the help of volunteers who donated paint and stretched the words from curb to curb.

Councilman Kaleem Shabazz, an NAACP chapter president, said he hoped to have the street reopened by the summer, which he said was a concern for many of his constituents. He said he’d also be in favor of moving the mural to another street, according to the newspaper. 

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