Street sweeping season begins officially this Thursday, April 1st. Though the 49th Ward street sweeper is already out cleaning the streets as weather permits, Thursday marks the first day this year that the city will post the bright orange “no parking” street sweeping signs on residential streets.
Each residential street in the 49th Ward is swept approximately once a month. This monthly schedule was jeopardized by a recent Daley Administration proposal to reduce the number of street sweepers citywide from 50 (one for each ward) to 33 and to clean streets on a “grid system,” rather than on a ward-by-ward basis.
This would have had a devastating effect on the 49th Ward by reducing the street sweeping frequency to once every seven to eight weeks. It also would have hindered greatly my ability to respond quickly to your street sweeping requests.
I joined with several of my City Council colleagues to call for a special City Council meeting today to implement an “order” requiring the Daley Administration to maintain one sweeper in each of the 50 wards. A copy of the proposed order is below:
Fortunately, the Administration yesterday offered a revised street sweeping plan that would maintain 40 sweepers and abandon the grid system. Under the revised plan, I would be able to maintain a monthly street sweeping schedule and control a sweeper four days a week. On the fifth day, the Department of Streets and Sanitation would sweep the streets where I posted signs, but devote no extra time to the ward. Streets and San would then be free to take the sweeper outside the ward.
I understand the fiscal constraints facing the city and I’m willing to give this proposed compromise a try. I’m especially grateful to Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Tom Byrne, who listened to the concerns of my colleagues and me and fashioned a compromise that will save money while maintaining a vital city service.
Residential street sweeping this year will continue until November 19th. Our commercial streets, and Ravenswood and Glenwood along the CTA and Metra embankments, are posted with permanent street cleaning signs and swept once or twice a week.
How can you help? Remind your neighbors to move their cars on street sweeping days. Refrain from raking leaves or other debris into the streets. Pick up litter along the curb rather than leaving it for the street sweepers. Our street sweeper vehicles are slowed down by large volumes of leaves and litter. The more cooperation we have from community residents, the more frequently we can sweep your street.
Street sweeping days are also ideal times to notice abandoned vehicles. If you believe a vehicle has been abandoned on your street, please contact my Ward Service Office immediately so we may begin steps to have it removed. The police and the Department of Streets and Sanitation watch for these vehicles, but there is no better source of information than the people who live on the street and know an abandoned vehicle from one that may simply belong to a vacationing neighbor.
Thank you for being a good neighbor and for working with us to make the 49th Ward a clean and safe community.