hell strip
 n.— «That comes with the territory on hell strips, the phrase some people use to describe the section of soil between the sidewalk and the street. It’s tough growing there, yet that’s exactly where certain die-hard gardeners are digging flower beds.» —“Green thumbs work magic on hell strips” by Marty Hair Detroit Free Press (Michigan) July 30, 2006. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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  1. MadScott says:

    This is a version of the “Devil Strip”…an expression peculiar to Toledo Ohio in my experience. The legend is that you weren’t supposed to play there as it’s where the streetcar steps would sweep along as they passed by, slicing up hapless bystanders.

  2. The Dictionary of American Regional English agrees with you. It has “devil strip” with the same meaning as you give, marks it as “chiefly northeast Ohio” and dates it to at least as early as 1957. It does not, however, have “hell strip.”

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