Philly expands street sweeping and will issue tickets for parked cars
Philadelphia’s street-sweeping pilot program will expand to 14 neighborhoods starting next week, and some residents will have to move their cars to help officials clear trash from roads.
Since the early 2000s, Philadelphia has been the only major US city without a citywide street sweeping program. The Streets Department announced Phase II of its pilot program earlier this month, marking the first major expansion since Mayor Jim Kenney halted the fledgling program at the start of the pandemic.
The new street sweeping season will run from April 4 to the end of November, Monday through Thursday, excluding official city holidays. Parking in sweeping zones will be limited between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., but on a staggered schedule that alternates parking on each side of the street, as is done in other major cities.
READ MORE: Philly expands street sweep, but won’t fulfill a Kenney campaign promise.
Here’s what you need to know about deployment.
There are 14 pilot areas, according to the Department of Streets, which were chosen based on a year-long municipal survey of neighborhoods with the highest concentration of litter.
But only six locations will begin to see ticketing begin in May. Fines of $31 will be levied by the Philadelphia Parking Authority in the six bolded areas below, officials said, but no vehicles will be towed for ignoring the rules.
READ MORE: ‘If you don’t want to move your car, it’s hard,’ says Kenney (as of January 2020)
For the remaining eight divisions, street officials said they would install signage and provide a 30-day grace period before enforcement begins on an as-yet-unknown date.
North Central: Broad Street to 22nd Street from Glenwood Avenue to Diamond Street
Frankford: Bridge Street to Adams Avenue from Griscom Street to Torresdale Avenue
Germantown: Berkley Street to Chelten Avenue from Pulaski Avenue to Wakefield Street
Kensington: Second Street to Kensington Avenue from Tioga Street to Lehigh Avenue
Logan: Godfrey Street to Roosevelt Boulevard Broad Street to Fifth Street
Nicetown: Broad Street to Clarissa Street, Hunting Park Avenue to Windrim Street
Paschall: 58th Street to 70th Street from Greenway Avenue to Dicks Street
Point Breeze: Christian Street to McKean Street from Broad Street to 24th Street
Port Richmond: Kensington Avenue to Aramingo Avenue from Tioga Street to Lehigh Avenue
South Philly: McKean Street to Oregon Avenue from Fourth Street to EighthStreet
Southwest: Woodland Avenue to Kingsessing Avenue from 49th Street to Cemetery Avenue
Strawberry Mansion: Diamond Street to Lehigh Avenue, Sedgley Street to 33rd Street
West Fairhill: Fifth Street to 13th Street from Glenwood Avenue to Susquehanna Avenue
West Philly: Parkside Avenue to Spring Garden Street from 52nd Street to 40th Street
Again, scanning hours are 9am to 3pm on the scan day for a given block. However, authorities use a staggered schedule, allowing residents to park on one side of the block for a few hours and then move to the other side, alternating every two hours.
After suspending the program in 2020, the Kenney administration last year devoted $62 million of its five-year spending plan to street sweeping. Starting last April, the Streets Department began “intermittently” sweeping the six pilot areas where the program began in 2019, as well as more than two dozen commercial corridors.
The program uses a mix of mechanical street-sweeping vehicles, trash compactors and city workers equipped with brooms and controversial backpack blowers to clean up hard-to-reach debris. (“Knapsack blowers will be used as part of the launch but not on all streets” going forward, spokeswoman Keisha McCarty-Skelton said in a statement.)
READ MORE: Survive a trash storm with South Philly’s new street sweepers
For the second phase launching next week, the biggest hurdle is education followed by enforcement.
While other major US cities have had citywide street sweeping programs for decades, Philadelphia has been particularly resistant to the idea since it scuttled its latest iteration of the program in the early 1990s. 2000, largely due to complaints from residents about parking.
Throughout the pilot program, the application was limited to warnings.
Through October 2021, authorities have issued just over 1,200 warnings to motorists where parking restrictions have been posted in pilot areas. (Newer application data was not immediately available.)
The issuance of banknotes from May will mark a new frontier. Officials said this week that SWEEP officers would patrol neighborhoods to educate residents about the program and continue to issue warnings to vehicles flouting parking restrictions.
With towing off the table, motorists’ refusal to move their car could thwart deployment in the second sentence.
“Unfortunately, non-compliance by motorists is hampering efforts to ensure thorough cleaning of neighborhoods,” McCarty-Skelton told The Inquirer last fall.
The Streets Department said it plans to launch a web map called SweepPHL that will allow residents to track and monitor the path of sweepers through their neighborhoods, so they can plan to park at those times.
It will also take time to measure the impact of phase two.
Last fall, McCarty-Skelton said sanitation supervisors began assessing street sweeping areas in the days after street sweeping to gauge the impact, and they seemed less than optimistic. .
In some areas, they reported a marked difference in cleanliness from week to week, while other areas remained just as dirty.
“On return visits the next day or later in the week,” McCarty-Skelton said, “some of the comments from supervisors indicate that there doesn’t seem to be a significant difference after cleaning, as more trash and debris returned to the streets.”