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March 21, 2023

Philly to resume street sweeping this spring in neighborhoods most impacted by litter

The third phase of the program runs from April to November, and residents will be asked to move their cars on most weekdays

Government Streets Department
Philadelphia Street Sweeping City of Philadelphia/Facebook

The Philadelphia Streets Department will resume mechanical street sweeping in 14 neighborhoods with the highest concentration of litter from Monday, April 3 through Friday, Nov. 3.

The Philadelphia Streets Department will resume its mechanical street sweeping program in April, warning residents that they will soon have to move their cars to make way for the neighborhood cleaning initiative. 

The city's street sweeping, which began in 2019 and has since expanded to more than a dozen neighborhoods most impacted by trash and litter, will run the third phase of its pilot program from Monday, April 3 through Friday, Nov. 3. Trucks equipped with brooms will arrive to (hopefully) empty streets in 14 neighborhoods for the next seven months to provide supplemental cleaning services.

Street sweepers will operate Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., and residents will be asked to move their vehicles on some of the routes that will be subject to cleaning. Earlier this month, city workers began posting signs near the impacted blocks to alert residents that the project will resume and run through most of the fall. 

While residents are required to move their cars by the April 3 start date, the city will begin enforcing $31 fines for parked cars beginning on May 1. Street cleaners will not work on city-observed holidays, so no parking restrictions will be in effect on those dates. In addition to mechanical broom sweeping in the street, some areas may also see sidewalk maintenance during this time. 

"We know there is a direct correlation between a clean neighborhood and how people feel and perceive the safety of their community," said Mayor Jim Kenney. "In 2022, the program cleaned over 16,000 miles in areas more prone to litter supporting residents and business owners. The mechanical program and its expansion as outlined in the proposed... operating budget will bring us closer to our goal, in which every neighborhood is a litter-free and welcoming environment for families, businesses and visitors." 

Mechanical street cleaning is an effective method to reduce litter, clean up trash and keep debris from entering into the city's water system, according to city officials. The pilot program is considered more effective than traditional street sweeping measures because it removes some debris not easily accessible with standard street sweepers with backpack blowers, push brooms and trash compactors. 

After this phase of the pilot program, mechanical street sweeping may expand to 20 neighborhoods in 2024 as part of Kenney's proposed budget, which still needs to be approved by City Council. While certainly an expansion from the six neighborhoods served at the beginning of the program, it falls short of Kenney's plans for a citywide street sweeping program. 

The 14 neighborhoods included in the third phase of the street sweeping project were chosen for their high concentrations of litter as determined by a 2019 survey. Most of these neighborhoods were swept during previous phases of the project, most of which required drivers to relocate their cars. 

The following areas were identified as having the most litter in the city and will be cleaned over the next several months: 

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 from Broad to Fifth streets
Nicetown: Broad to Clarissa streets from Hunting Park to Windrim avenues
North Central: Broad to 22nd streets from Glenwood Avenue to Diamond Street
Paschall: 58th to 70th streets from Greenway Avenue to Dicks Street
Point Breeze: Christian to McKean streets from Broad to 24th streets
Port Richmond: Kensington to Aramingo avenues from Tioga Street to Lehigh Avenue
South Philadelphia: McKean Street to Oregon Avenue from Fourth to Eighth streets
Southwest: Woodland to Kingsessing avenues from 49th Street to Cemetery Avenue
Strawberry Mansion: Diamond Street to Lehigh Avenue from Sedgley to 33rd streets
West Fairhill: Fifth to 13th streets from Glenwood to Susquehanna avenues
West Philadelphia: Parkside Avenue to Spring Garden Street from 52nd to 40th streets

"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 width of each block." 

Residents are encouraged to use SweepPHL, a web-based map, to track the progress of the mechanical broom and reduce any inconveniences caused by the temporary sweeping blitz. Residents can also visit the online resource to see the latest information from the Litter Index. 

To prepare residents for the upcoming phase of the street sweeping project, the city is hosting a series of public information sessions on Zoom. Residents can ask questions and listen to the Streets Department's presentation about mechanical street sweeping on March 22 at 6 p.m., March 27 at 5 p.m., March 28 at 9 a.m. or March 29 at 12 p.m. They can access the meetings using the meeting ID 873 1719 3203 and passcode 996285, or dial in through their phones at 267-831-0333.