Should we bring street sweepers back to South Philly?

Pick of a Philly street sweeper, rarely seen in the wild, comes from the Mayor's Office.
Philly street sweeper, rarely seen in the wild, comes from the Mayor’s Office.

A recent City Paper story, which we can’t believe we missed nearly two months ago, found that the city would have to spend only $3 million a year to clean every street twice a month.

That’s a surprisingly little amount, but the article suggested that cost was less of a factor in restoring the service than that old bugaboo, parking. Monthly street sweeping was suspended gradually over the years after many residents complained about excessive parking tickets, and some areas flat out failed to comply.

But we can surely all agree that litter is a huge problem, so maybe it’s time to revisit this issue. Take our poll and we’ll pass the results along to Councilmen Mark Squilla and Kenyatta Johnson:

[yop_poll id=”14″]

The City Paper’s story is fantastic. It checks in with what they’re doing in Baltimore (not issuing tickets for those who don’t move their cars) and weighs the issue of organized labor into the discussion. The whole thing is worth a read here.

Even if the city did restart sweeping, do you think your neighbors would go along with it?

45 thoughts on “Should we bring street sweepers back to South Philly?

  • July 3, 2014 at 9:28 am

    This is a no brainer in any town ( except us) .

    • July 3, 2014 at 11:26 am

      No! There is no place to move the cars and half of the time they fid a lousy job. We clean our own street and do a better job.

      • July 3, 2014 at 11:32 am

        A “lousy job” is better than not at all. Appreciate you doing your part but until more take the same initiative it’s time for the city to step up and pick up the slack for those who stand idly by.

      • July 3, 2014 at 11:57 am

        My neighbors do a great job of cleaning the streets and no one is going to be happy getting ticketed so I am with you Joe.

      • July 3, 2014 at 11:58 am

        They could do it during the day when most people are at work.

      • July 3, 2014 at 2:12 pm

        How can some be industrious enough to sweep their own street yet too LAZY to move their car??

        A lot of people are unable to sweep their street (disabled, old age). They DESERVE to have a basic city service performed. LAZY people deny them of that right.

      • July 4, 2014 at 3:36 am

        AGREE!!! If they wanna come through our streets, fine. But don’t be writing tickets to people who can’t wake up to move their cars in the morning because they have night jobs… Its not worth it…

    • July 10, 2014 at 8:44 pm

      Great idea BUT the city will, sooner or later, start TICKETING the cars that are not moved.
      Remember that the parking authority isn’t about PARKING, it’s about AUTHORITY.

      When it was mentioned about parking 30 feet from the corner, the ppa said “that’s silly, we’d never do that”…but they DO. How many parking spaces has the ppa ELIMINATED since they took over? How many times have you thought, while riding around and around and AROUND, the only thing wrong with that space is THAT SIGN.

      The mayor and the ppa knows that this will be a profit making program and all the have to do is get enough DOPES to go for it and…..they’ll buy a couple of sweepers and bang the hell out of you. Wake up…they’re not on your side. It’ll be more TAXATION BY CITATION.

      • July 16, 2014 at 5:43 pm


  • July 3, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Yes! It should be the day after trash pick-up…which somehow feels like an oxymoron when you look at all the litter on the streets after the trash guys come through.

    If it comes back, I think there should be a grace period of the first couple of months to let people get acclimated to moving their cars accordingly. But I’d gladly move my car in order to have cleaner streets.

    • July 3, 2014 at 10:09 am

      @c.g.: the Sanitation workers used to do double duty as street cleaners. They swept the block as they picked up the trash. Go back to that method. That way the fat slobs won’t complain about having to move their cars.

      • July 3, 2014 at 10:46 am

        C.G. and Anthony G – Great ideas! Trash day is the worst day, by far. I do feel badly for the guys but it is their job, after all. It’s quite shocking to see the state of the block after trash/recycling pick up.

        Also, has anyone else noticed that the trucks dump piles of broken glass every time they stop? They’re all over my block.

        • July 3, 2014 at 5:53 pm

          The piles of broken glass that the recycle trucks leave behind are so consistent. The trucks must have some flaw.

        • July 8, 2014 at 12:42 pm

          I can attest to the broken glass in the street after trash pickup. I’ve reported it to the city a couple of times, to no avail. The city should really take responsibility for it. Not only is it unsightly, but it’s dangerous. Kids on my block play in the street – they (and their parents) shouldn’t have to live in fear of cuts from piles of broken, dirty glass.

      • July 4, 2014 at 3:38 am

        Fat slobs… Real nice. And its funny… I was issued a warning before about this message board being a place for “civil conversation”… I never called people fat slobs…

        And btw… I hope you’re in great shape when you make that accusation… I know I am…

  • July 3, 2014 at 10:58 am

    How about a sweeper/s go behind collectors. Keep brooms on truck. At least to sweep up what they drop

  • July 3, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Even if only twice per year they required people to move cars it would be a godsend. I’m certainly for more than that but baby steps would be something at least.

    • July 3, 2014 at 11:12 am

      Exactly what I was thinking… the “curb schmütz” on my block is basically an archaeological treasure trove with its years and years and layers and layers of detritus. Every month… every other month… twice a year… any of those options is better than the never we have now. Pick a bunch of weekdays in the summer when half the people are at the Jersey shore and the other half are at work. There’s practically no cars on the street at that time anyway!

  • July 3, 2014 at 11:10 am

    i personally think we need the sidewalk sweepers like they have in cc more…

    • July 3, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      I totally agree with this. One of those sweepers to follow a trash truck on trash day. Makes too much sense.

      • July 3, 2014 at 8:57 pm

        I saw one of those cruising down Passyunk the other day. I had no idea…

    • July 4, 2014 at 3:42 am

      Agree… Green machine type sweepers are better than these big elephants that just scatter stuff around if they’re not working correctly.

  • July 3, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Honest question about the trash day:
    Do you think all that stuff blows around because people don’t secure it properly / put it out during hurricane like winds? Or is it because of the trash guys themselves? I feel like if a bag is sealed tight – it shouldn’t spill out all that trash…

    • July 4, 2014 at 8:42 am

      Probably a mix of both.

  • July 3, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Trash day is a big problem but not the only one. If everyone took 5 minutes a week to sweep up the sidewalk/street in front of their own home it would be a huge step in the right direction.

  • July 3, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Yes everyone should be better about sweeping their sidewalk and the streets. But it’s pretty much impossible for me to sweep my street regularly. Since I don’t own a car I can’t ever time when the spot in front of my house will be open. And there are vacant lots/buildings everywhere with no active landlords.

    More than that, wishing won’t get you a pony or a sudden upsurge in citizen participation.

  • July 3, 2014 at 11:51 am

    I think they should keep brooms on the trucks and have a sweeper or sweepers follow the truck after the trash is collected. At least to sweep up the trash that is dropped that they do not pick up.

    • July 4, 2014 at 3:43 am


  • July 3, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Only restore if tickets are not issued.

    I know that sounds silly but its unfair to those out of town, on vacation, or even those who may not drive to work, to be ticketed because of this. I remember when this was first in place when I was younger and how angry my neighbors who took SEPTA to work would be. The last thing you want to do when you are running out the door in the morning is remember to move the car. It seems selfish but it’s just not realistic to think that is going to happen.

    • July 4, 2014 at 3:48 am

      Thankyou Mike for pointing this out… I hope AnthonyG doesn’t call you a fat slob for not moving a car… I didn’t know moving a car burned a lot of calories or something…

      Again, I’d also like to point out that not everyone works a 9-5 anymore… Some people don’t get home from work till 3 or 4 in the morning… For them to have to wake up just to avoid a parking ticket… And then have to try and fall asleep again lest they be too tired for work in the afternoon… Thats just stupid.

    • July 8, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      Why can’t they just park appropriately the night before when they get home. Its not as if its a huge mystery when street cleaning day is.

      • July 9, 2014 at 3:19 pm

        Exactly. The signs clearly post which day(s) cleaning is conducted. If you are not smart enough to read before you park, then you deserve a ticket.

        • July 9, 2014 at 8:58 pm

          And if there is no parking at the hour you come home?? If the hour you come home from work is at 3 or 4 am?? If there is no parking on the other side of the street or down the block??? What then genius?

          NO.. Asking people to simply move their cars like its some kind of easy task is just completely, utterly, unrealistic…

  • July 3, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Street sweepers treat the symptom, not the root cause of the problem, which is the mentality that it’s OK to drop one’s trash on the ground. Go ahead and sweep the streets; some idiot is just going to come by two minutes later and throw away a soda bottle and half-eaten bag of chips

    If they are going to have these, they should be paid for by fines collected for quality-of-life violations (if the City actually did this), and not the taxpayer. Responsible residents shouldn’t have to pay to clean up after slops.

  • July 3, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Cleaning the streets is a basic public service. If the city cannot afford to clean the streets, it can’t it should not be able to afford cars and drivers for City Counsel members.

    • July 3, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      Right on. I walk my dog throughout South Philly every day and sometimes it is truly unbelievable that I’m walking in a major city in North America.

  • July 3, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Street cleaners would be a huge help. Quite honestly I’m getting sick of hearing neighbors complain about parking difficulties. We live in a freaking city and parking is not going to be perfect. If you are going to complain about parking then you should either move to the suburbs or pay extra for a parking garage. As far as the street cleaners, I agree with previous comments that twice a month or even twice a year would be a huge improvement. Sometimes I feel like I am the only one on my block who sweeps the block (and I do mean ENTIRE block) let alone any of the neighbors sweeping their tiny front stoop area. It’s a combination of things: changing the mentality of the neighbors, as well as the city doing its part and actually cleaning the streets. For those of us who don’t live on Passyunk Ave where there are garbage cans, the streets are horrendous and outright embarrassing. I also think adding trash cans to block corners would be a huge improvement. But until Steven Starr opens a restaurant in south Philly, our neighborhood as well as Washington ave is going to be filled with litter.

    • July 4, 2014 at 3:54 am

      I agree with the need for garbage cans… And Steven Starr opening a place in South Philly would be easier to imagine if our blocks weren’t anchored by low class beer distributors, cheap food take out joints, and low class dive bars like DiNic’s across the street from the Melrose…

      • July 9, 2014 at 3:21 pm

        People in this neighborhood (and all across the city really) have already proven they can’t be trusted with street garbage cans. They would just end up with more overflow trash from the people who won’t leave the trash in their homes (apartment dwellers) or in their private cans until trash day.

        • July 9, 2014 at 9:00 pm

          The “unlitter us” garbage cans fulfill their task just fine. And having them is better than not having them… Way better…

  • July 7, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Please, please, please get street cleaning reinstated. Or at the very least put some trash cans on every few corners. I live on 9th and try to sweep up our street every week or two, only to have low life a-holes waiting at the bus stop throw their garbage on the street 5 minutes later. It is ridiculous

  • July 8, 2014 at 9:33 am

    There is no reason that in 2014, we can’t make Philadelphia less dirty. It’s an utter disgrace that the city lets people’s laziness and complaining stop the cleaning machines from coming through and doing what they can to erase some of the filth. There are so many people trying to do good here, and yet these people get to dictate that everyone else gets to live in dirty neighborhood? That’s horrible, and the city needs to be the more enlightened body here and force the streets to get clean.

    • July 9, 2014 at 9:05 pm

      Old fashioned street sweepers in the form of those big gargantuan dinosaur diesel trucks are outdated… They also pick up one form of pollution while spewing out another form of pollution… Those green machine type street sweepers would do better. Utilizing the proper method would cause less madness… There is on need to throw the “these people” around….

      • July 9, 2014 at 9:10 pm

        Also.. Awarding the Parking Authority with yet another opportunity to ticket and tow cars, only provides the PPA workers an added orgasm. And the funds generated from this don’t even go to the city we live in. It goes to the state first. I don’t trust that system.. Something dirty about that.

  • July 25, 2014 at 9:27 am

    I used to live in Kennsington/Fishtown area and it’s kind of odd that they don’t have this problem. I never saw a street sweeper up there either. Why is South Philly so much dirtier.

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