Thursday, November 12, 2009

Street Sweeping - some more info

There is info on DPW's website about street sweeping -- however it's from the Spring. It (click on the map) does however show Ward 25's Street Sweeping Route as #11. Route #11 is swept monthly between April - November on the first Monday (side 1) & first Tuesday (Side 2) of those months. According to Deputy Director of Public Works, Howard Weissberg, who spoke & answered questions at Nov's CMT meeting, the City's one crew takes care of the City's 14 Routes in a 28 day cycle (2 days/2 sides of the street). This full schedule does occasionally result in routes/neighborhoods being "missed" due to holidays or bad weather. Westville/Route 11 was "missed" 2 months in a row this sweeping season due to these factors. But, unlike "posted" routes, DPW can come back to our "in & out, un-posted" route, schedule permitting.

A set schedule and "posted" (permanent signs on poles) routes, does not allow for as much scheduling flexibility as DPW would like to accommodate needs and efficiency. Also, efficiency comes from having cars off the streets to be swept. Our neighborhood (Route 11) is one of the "un-posted" routes. This is suppose to offer the advantage of not being bothered with moving our cars on set days nor being subjected to ticketing and towing. Our neighborhood was identified as generally having fewer cars on the street which can be worked around. It also allows DPW to vary from the set two days they can come sweep our streets. In fact, for both these reasons, the City has been changing "posted" routes to "un-posted." Back to efficiency issues with "un-posted..." Crew supervisors (which go out a couple days ahead) do however assess how free of cars streets seem to be. And, they can then decide to "paper-post" streets as no-parking, providing 24 hours notice. This posting method too has it's pros and cons as you can imagine. Balancing desires, needs, requirements, efficiency, and inconvenience is the challenge. Howard is indeed re-evaluating the Street Sweeping program and will be working to improve it. He does want to emphasize that the City exceeds Federal & State DEP requirements. Cleaning the streets is done for both aesthetic and environmental reasons.

There is also a "night crew" to spot sweep and address arterial roads. CT DOT does not help with "their" many roads like Whalley & Fountain.

Please contact Ina or me to pass on any concerns about City Sweeping & Leaf removal to Howard. The concerns I've been hearing suggest many folks would like to see: ALL cars removed prior to sweeping and especially prior to leave collection (improve efficiency), more communication of schedule (via web or robo-phone calls), more information about "the rules" (website, flyers), and more enforcement of the bagging & not-into-the-street rules. Some folks also would like more supervision & evaluation of City crews/employees to ensure proper procedures (no leaf bags in with regular garbage) and increased efficiency.