An expanded neighborhood street sweeping program will begin next week in Philadelphia — and residents will have to move their cars, unlike in a 2019 pilot program.
Sweeping will begin Monday in areas of the city chosen for having the most litter:
North Central Philadelphia, from Broad to 22nd Streets and from Glenwood Avenue to Diamond Street
South Philadelphia, from McKean Street to Oregon Avenue and from Fourth to Eighth Streets
Southwest Philadelphia, from Woodland to Kingsessing Avenues and from 48th Street to Cemetery Avenue
Strawberry Mansion, from Diamond Avenue to Lehigh Street and from Sedgley to 33rd Streets
The Streets Department will expand to weekly sweeping in 14 areas of the city before the pilot program ends Nov. 30, Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams said Monday.
Officials said the sweeping plans will expand and improve on the 2019 pilot program in six neighborhoods, which used leaf blowers to move trash from around cars instead of requiring residents to move their vehicles.
“Phase two is more comprehensive than standard mechanical sweeping and will involve a variety of efforts to remove debris from hard-to-reach spaces,” Mayor Jim Kenney said at a news conference announcing the program expansion.
Williams said the city has purchased sidewalk sweepers as well as sweepers that fit down narrow streets. Backpack blowers will still be used, but not on all streets.
The city has already started putting up signs in the affected neighborhoods to tell residents to move their cars for two-hour periods between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on sweeping days, Williams said. He said the city will issue warnings for cars not moved during the pilot program to educate residents, with plans for the Philadelphia Parking Authority to begin enforcement next year.
Neighborhood street sweeping was one of Kenney’s campaign promises in 2015, when he ran for his first term as mayor. He launched the 2019 pilot shortly before the primary election in his bid for a second term.
Kenney had promised to expand sweeping citywide by the time he leaves office in 2023 and unveiled a budget with funding to do so just a few weeks before the coronavirus pandemic halted those plans.
The latest city spending plan that took effect last month includes $62 million over five years for street cleaning. But the Kenney administration said the pandemic has slowed the timeline for expansion citywide.
Williams said Monday that citywide sweeping is still the goal, but it’s not yet clear how quickly that can happen. Some areas have less litter, he said, and may need sweeping only once a month or a few times a year.
“We’re learning as we go,” he said, adding that the city will evaluate this year’s program before deciding how to change or expand next spring.
The expanded program begins as the Streets Department continues to struggle with the impact of the pandemic, during which it has been plagued by staffing shortages, increased residential trash, and trash pickup backlogs. Williams said trash pickup has been on time in the last week, and hiring is ongoing for the sweeping program.
Expansion to additional areas of the city will roll out this fall as the city is able to train workers and put up parking restriction signs, Williams said.
Start dates have not yet been announced for the 10 neighborhoods the city plans to bring weekly sweeping to later this year:
Frankford, from Bridge Street to Adams Avenue and from Griscom Street to Torresdale Avenue
Germantown, from Berkley Street to Chelten Avenue and from Pulaski Avenue to Wakefield Street
Kensington, from Second Street to Kensington Avenue and from Tioga Street to Lehigh Avenue
Logan, from Godfrey Avenue to Roosevelt Boulevard and from Broad to Fifth Streets
Nicetown, from Broad to Clarissa Streets and from Hunting Park Avenue to Windrim Street
Paschall, from 58th to 70th Streets and from Greenway Avenue to Dicks Avenue
Point Breeze, from Christian to McKean Streets and from Broad to 24th Streets
Port Richmond, from Kensington to Aramingo Avenues and from Tioga to Lehigh
West Fairhill, from Fifth to 13th Streets and from Glenwood to Susquehanna Avenues
West Philadelphia, from Parkside to Girard Avenues and from 52nd to 40th Streets