March is the time of year when the North End/Waterfront streets are the dirtiest. Street cleaning does not start until April 1st so all the trash from the winter is blowing around with no snow to hide it all. Attendees at this month’s NEWRA Clean Streets Committee agreed that the streets look pretty bad. No one is more frustrated by this than co-chair Naomi Paul who has been reassessing some of neighborhood’s initiatives that simply are not working and introducing new ideas.

Street Barrels – Several residents complained that the street barrels are overflowing on a regular basis. Stephen Passacantilli, representing Councilor LaMattina’s office, voiced the concern that the Department of Public Works “just can’t keep up” and it will be especially difficult as Spring arrives. There were reports of more “dumping” by suburbanites that bring their garbage bags into the city on their way to work and leave it on North End street corners. Residents are also placing household trash next to the barrels which is not allowed. A resident noted that some new barrels have disappeared including one at the corner by the North Bennet Street School.

Naomi Paul (center) leads the meeting with co-chair Patricia Thiboutot (left).
Naomi Paul (center) leads the meeting with co-chair Patricia Thiboutot (left).

Tip Sheet – Here is the link to the current North End Cleanliness Tip Sheet. The Clean Streets committee is preparing a mass mailing to all residents and merchants in the neighborhood. The challenge has been to get the mailing list together. The Committee is also looking at making a simpler tip sheet.

Real Estate Offices– Committee member Tina Busa took the initiative to present the tip sheet to all the neighborhood real estate offices. The committee has asked agents to give the sheet to all new tenants that move into the North End/Waterfront area. Tina reported that most were enthusiastic about getting the tip sheet into the hands of new renters. Tina also gave a shout-out to Jimmy at Boston Harbor Realty on North Street. She found him sweeping his sidewalk and gutter which he does everyday.

Rats– Anne Pistorio handed out some literature on the Norway rats found in the North End. Among some of the “fun facts” are that Boston’s rats can swim the Charles River, climb a brick wall and jump 8 feet from one rooftop to another. One rat can carry hundreds of fleas on his body. Rats can gnaw through cement, wooden planks and cables.

The best way to “starve a rat” is to put garbage in containers with sealed lids. With the mild winter, the rats never went away this year with several hotspots in the North End/Waterfront area. She also reminds dog owners that rats feed on dog waste.

To help clean up the winter dog poop on the streets, there is a Dog Poop Scoop volunteer effort by neighborhood dog owners on March 28th at 10am. Meet at the Prado (Paul Revere Mall).

High attendance at this month’s Clean Streets Committee meeting.
High attendance at this month’s Clean Streets Committee meeting.

Clean Business Awards
The two-year old program, “10 Minutes with a Broom,” is not working so the committee is considering new ideas to increase its effectiveness. The committee is considering a “Clean Business of the Month” program where a merchant would receive an award or window sticker for keeping their sidewalk and gutters consistently clean. Winners would be publicized in the Regional Review paper and NorthEndWaterfront.com.

Some dates to remember:

March 28th – Dog Poop Scoop – Meet at Prado at 10am (all welcome)

April 13th – Clean Streets Committee Meeting – ABCD Center, 1 Michelangelo St, 7pm

April 24th – Boston Shines (North End) – Meet in the morning at the Prado.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Realistically, I just don’t ever see the rats going away with the current trash disposal method. On pick up day, the sight of plastic garbage bags (most with holes) is mind boggling. 1-ply, 2-ply… if a rat can chew through cement, does it really matter??

    Why can’t a portion of the neighborhood experiment with a locked dumpster for residents? How do other cities handle this situation? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could invent an underground sealed dumpster with chutes that look like the current solar powered trash bins along Hanover?

  2. If rats could gnaw through concrete, every building would be infested and the rodent control people from the city would not use concrete to patch up hols is sidewalks and buildings . Where did these facts come from anyway?

    Which third world country is portrayed in this picture?

  3. If you Google "rats gnawing through cement", you will find lots of sites such as this one: (it’s on the internet, so it much be true, right?). My guess is that they are referring to soft, older concrete that is easy to break into pieces.
    http://www.terrierman.com/aboutrats.htm
    "Rats must constantly grind their teeth because their front incisors grow five inches a year. The teeth are powerful, applying up to 24,000 pounds of pressure per square inch, allowing rats to chew through wood, bone, lead pipes, brick, concrete, even thin pieces of metal."

    The picture is from a temple in India, Karni Mata, dedicated to holy rats. If you have a strong stomach, here is a link to a video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACzWdSfZXmw

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