PHILADELPHIA — Mayor Jim Kenney announced today the launch of Phase II of the City’s Mechanical Cleaning Pilot Program in four residential areas. The program will launch on Monday, August 9 and run through Tuesday, November 30, 2021. There are a total of 14 areas slated for the program beginning with the cleaning of four areas, with a gradual expansion to include each additional area.
“As our city continues to navigate the pandemic and recover from the impact of COVID-19, we are committed to ensuring that neighborhood corridors are clean, safe, comfortable, accessible and attractive places for all Philadelphians, which will also help attract new business activity and provide job opportunities,” said Mayor Kenney.
With the support of Mayor Kenney’s $62 million investment over five years in street cleaning, the Streets Department is launching phase II in neighborhoods identified through the Litter Index as having the highest concentration of litter. “The Mechanical Street Cleaning Pilot Program is part of the City of Philadelphia’s commitment to reduce trash and litter conditions in the City’s most vulnerable communities,” said Managing Director Tumar Alexander. “The areas selected have been identified as requiring additional city services to supplement cleaning efforts,” he added.
In preparation for the launch of phase II of the Mechanical Cleaning Pilot Program, the Streets Department is installing poles and posting signage along with testing equipment on designated routes in the selected areas. As such, residents may notice mechanical cleaning signage posted on their blocks. Beginning Monday, August 9 residents are urged to follow the posted scheduled cleaning times to allow for a more thorough cleaning of the street from curb to curb. Warnings will be issued on vehicles parked illegally. Residents will be notified in advance when parking enforcement will commence.
The Mechanical Cleaning Pilot Program will launch on Monday, August 9 in the following areas:
North Central: Broad to 22nd Sts from Glenwood Ave to Diamond St
South Philly: McKean St to Oregon Ave from 4th to 8th Sts
Southwest: Woodland Ave to Kingsessing Ave from 49th St to Cemetery Ave.
Strawberry Mansion: Diamond Ave to Lehigh St from Sedgley to 33rd Sts
The program will be a hybrid of mechanical sweeping, sidewalk litter and trash removal and trash compactor removal. The program will launch in beta phase as the Department evaluates and adjusts logistics as necessary to ensure the program is operating effectively and efficiently. Some streets in each pilot area will have sidewalk cleaning maintenance along with mechanical broom cleaning weekly.
Mechanical street cleaning is an effective tool in reducing litter from city streets and preventing trash and debris from entering the water systems. “Mechanical cleaning supports the City’s efforts to make Philadelphia streets safer by keeping streets free of debris. This will enhance and provide a good and safe experience for all users,” said Mike Carroll, Deputy Managing Director of the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability (OTIS).
This pilot program is more comprehensive than standard mechanical sweeping. Equipment used will help to clear loose litter on some sidewalks and other items not easily accessible with a standard mechanical sweeper. The equipment used includes mechanical brooms (large and small), sidewalk sweepers, push brooms, and trash compactors used to remove illegally dumped materials. Backpack blowers will be used as part of the late summer launch but not on all streets. They are an effective tool when clearing debris from sidewalks and on small streets where the mechanical broom is unable to fit.
To facilitate a more detailed cleaning, there will be restricted street parking on streets wide enough to accommodate relocation of vehicles. Some of the routes in the program will require residents to move their vehicles. “Mechanical broom cleaning is most effective when the brooms are able to reach the curb lines,” said Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams. “The city’s densely populated neighborhoods present challenges when relocating vehicles. The areas can be tight and finding parking spots can be challenging. Therefore, relocation of vehicles will be selected based on the size and density of each block,” he added.
This year, from August through November vehicles will be issued warnings for parking on the streets during specified no parking times. Residents should become accustomed to the new parking restrictions and become familiar with City sanitation regulations. To ensure proper cleaning is maintained, SWEEP Officers will patrol neighborhoods to issue parking warnings and educate residents on sanitation violations related to trash and litter. Residents in areas where mechanical cleaning will take place will be notified of virtual community meetings where program information will be shared. To minimize the inconvenience during parking restrictions, the Streets Department is finalizing the design of SweepPHL, a web-based map that allows residents to track and monitor the progress of the mechanical broom.
Alternate street parking intervals will be staggered from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.; 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Any unplanned obstacles, i.e., blocked streets or mechanical failure may cause a delay or cancellation for the day. Efforts will be made to service locations as quickly as possible. The mechanical sweeping program will operate four days per week, Monday through Thursday excluding City-observed holidays.
The rollout in 10 additional areas will be announced at a later date. Residents may begin to see no parking signs installed or mechanical sweeping equipment tested in the following areas:
Frankford: Bridge to Adams from Griscom St to Torresdale Ave
Germantown: Berkley to Chelten from Pulaski to Wakefield
Kensington: 2nd St to Kensington from Tioga to Lehigh Ave
Logan: Godfrey to Roosevelt Blvd from Broad to 5th Sts
Nicetown: Broad to Clarissa from Hunting Park Ave to Windrim St.
Paschall: 58th to 70th from Greenway Ave to Dicks Ave
Point Breeze: Christian to McKean from Broad to 24th Sts.
Port Richmond: Kensington to Aramingo from Tioga to Lehigh
West Fairhill: 5th to 13th Sts from Glenwood to Susquehanna
West Philly: Parkside to Girard Ave from 52nd to 40th Sts.
The structure and sequence of the operations in each pilot area will be:
- Streets Department laborers equipped with backpack blowers and hand brooms will clean some pilot routes.
- Mechanical brooms will follow cleaning crews once debris is blown off sidewalks and curb lines.
- To ensure cleaning is maintained SWEEP Officers will patrol neighborhoods to address Sanitation code violations related to litter.
Residents are reminded that the Mechanical Street Cleaning Pilot Program supports community led efforts to clean blocks. City Sanitation regulations must still be adhered to including, setting trash out on regular collection day in the authorized location. Only household trash should be set out for pick up. Visit www.phila.gov/streets for specific regulations.