Naomi Paul and Patricia Thiboutot are stepping down as co-chairs of the Clean Streets Committee, part of the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association. Citing time and family issues, the surprise announcement was made by Naomi at yesterday’s committee meeting which was attended by approximately 25 neighborhood residents. After two years as co-chairs, Naomi and Patricia will continue to be members of the group but are looking for other volunteers to take the leadership role(s). There were no immediate volunteers at the meeting. It was unclear what would happen to the group if no one steps forward.
City Councilor Sal LaMattina extended his appreciation for the work that Naomi and Patricia have done on the Clean Streets Committee. He said, “Thank you. I remember how we went door-to-door in the neighborhood trying to place trash barrels and educate the community. I am very proud of the work you have done.”
Frank O’Brien of the Department of Public Works (DPW) complemented Naomi for taking on the challenge and “getting in the middle of a lot of unpopular issues.” He lauded their accomplishments saying, “We’ve made progress and on behalf of Public Works, we appreciate it.”
Year-Round Street Sweeping
Public Works’ Frank O’Brien provided an update on the compromise for year-round mechanical street sweeping. As previously announced at the Neighborhood Council meeting, Public Works will not do street sweeping in January and February. Instead, they will only add the months of December and March to the existing schedule.
O’Brien said that after a meeting at City Hall with North End residents, Public Works made this compromise because some North Enders did not want to move their cars for street sweeping. This private meeting did not include the Clean Streets Committee. O’Brien said, “Two more months is better than none.” March has been the worst month in the past in terms of trash complaints because the weather starts to improve and it has been months since the streets have been cleaned.
Naomi Paul questioned how many people actually complained about the original proposal for year-round street sweeping. “How are you weighing a few people’s desire not to move their car versus Public Works responsibility to keep the streets clean?” O’Brien said that if the pilot program is successful this year, it could be expanded to include January and February next winter.
Councilor LaMattina said, “We will make December and March work for the neighborhood. This is not a penalty. Our goal is not to ticket or tow cars. We heard from enough residents to come up with this plan to address the trash and rodent problems. Just give it a chance.”
Marie Simboli asked if vouchers could be provided to residents concerned about not finding a spot. Public Works has approached the state-owned Parcel 7 lot and was told they could not accommodate residents. It was pointed out at the meeting, however, that the Parcel 7 garage offers “$3 for 3 hours” discounts for tickets validated by area businesses.
Notifications will start going out immediately and ads will be put in the paper. There are 4,500 registered car owners in the North End that will receive a mailing. O’Brien noted that the number of car owners in the North End is very high considering its overall population (~10,000).
During the months of January and February, there will be one small sweeper that will come through at night to clean the center of major streets. There is also one manual street sweeper that will continue to service the neighborhood. In response to requests for more manual street sweeping, O’Brien said, “we can’t have an army of people cleaning the streets.”
The Councilor added, “With December and January, it is only 4 times that residents will have to move their car.”
If there is snow in the forecast, Public Works won’t sweep and emails will go out the night before through the City’s No-Tow program (sign-up here). Alternatively, residents can call the Mayor’s hotline at 617-635-4500. (Ed: We will also post announcements here on the front page of NorthEndWaterfront.com.) More information on the North End Pilot Program can be found on the City’s website.
Green Ticket Update
Naomi Paul raised the issue of residents receiving ‘green tickets’ when someone else puts trash in front of their property. Councilor LaMattina said, “if they don’t have proof, there should not be a ticket. They are supposed to have proof.” Regional Review reporter Phil Orlandella said that code enforcement is using the policy that property owners are responsible for what is in front of their property. Councilor LaMattina is going to investigate the proper handling of these situations.
Regarding the related issue of trash barrels, Mike Bloomer said, “if there were more barrels on the street, there would be less trash in the gutters.” Public Works is going to look into getting back a barrel removed from the corner of N. Bennet and Salem Streets.
Good Neighbor Recognition Award
After the October award to Strega Ristorante, the committee considered three new choices for the November award. And the winner is … Mother Anna’s!
Committee members will arrange for a presentation and photo opportunity.
Chris Young from the Chamber of Commerce reported on his initiative to locate and refill neighborhood Dogi-Pots. The Richmond Street dog run is seeing residents using 400 bags every 10 days, twice the rate of other locations.
Chris also reported that the smoke pots contributed by the Chamber of Commerce are disappearing from some locations. He will put in an order for more.
Anne Pistorio identified public property in the neighborhood with a rodent control problem. She has identified properties near Mechanic’s Way, the Sumner Tunnel entrance, Casa Maria and Asonia. She also said that Christopher Columbus Park, near the ferry terminal is a hot spot. Dumpsters for the Chart House, Joe’s Bar & Grill and the Golden Goose are also problem areas.
Kathy Carangelo took notes for follow-up in Councilor LaMattina’s office.
Resident Mike Bloomer siad, “thanks to Anne for keeping the pressure on. The rat situation is noticeably better.” Councilor LaMattina said the city has a new deal with the union for rodent control to be out 7 days a week. He expects the North End will see improvement as a result of this effort.
Lastly, Anne noted that Taranta, the Hanover St. restaurant, has been receiving numerous awards for its trash and recycling practices. The business generates almost no trash, just recycling and waste that is taken to a compost facility. Their grease is also re-used as fuel for cars. The Clean Streets Committee will invite the operator to a future meeting.
The next Clean Streets Committee meeting is scheduled for December 14, 7:00 pm at the Nazzaro Center. All North End / Waterfront residents are welcome.