It was a “Spazzare!” brainstorming session at the Clean Streets Committee meeting this week, led by new chairman David Grant (center in photo above). Joining the clean-up effort was District 1 City Councilor Sal LaMattina (right in photo) and Public Works’ Frank O’Brien (left).
As announced last week, Spazzare (“to sweep” in Italian) is a new program by the NEWRA Clean Streets Committee with a short-term goal of increasing awareness regarding the street trash problem in the North End. Initially, the group will mount 11 brooms and dustpans on the big belly barrel compacters along Hanover Street. The brooms will be decorated and signage will be added on the sides of the barrels. City Hall has been briefed on the concept and will help with the execution of the program.
“It really has to be an education campaign,” said Grant. The committee decided to launch the sweeping program on April 30, coincident with Boston Shines, the City’s day for spring cleaning in Boston neighborhoods. The group discussed sourcing the brooms and the best way to install and decorate them on the barrels. Posters could also be placed in storefront windows with the Spazzare logo.
Committee members suggested various taglines including, “The Brooms Are Coming,” “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute,” “Your History – Your Home” and “Brooms of the North End.” There was some consensus on “The Brooms are Coming,” an idea from the always eloquent Phil Orlandella.
The colors Red, White and Green from the Italian flag were chosen to best incorporate the North End’s reputation, although it was also suggested the brooms could simply be painted green to represent an environmental effort.
To be sure, there was some skepticism in the room. Who exactly will use these brooms? Will they get stolen? What will the tourists think? In the end, the group thought the program will generate good public relations and awareness of the problem. “Even if no one sweeps, they’ll think twice before throwing paper and cups on the ground,” said Grant.
One resident asked, “What about the side streets?” If the program is successful, it could be expanded beyond Hanover Street. Another resident argued for more sidewalk barrels and better pick-up by Public Works. This issue has been debated several times in recent years. There are more barrels than ever in the North End, but many residents still abuse them by placing household trash inside. Frank O’Brien said, “Don’t give up on calling code enforcement (617-635-5300). With the green ticket law, there is more enforcement.”
O’Brien also gave an update on the North End Street Sweeping Pilot Program that resumed on March 1st. The first two weeks were “warnings only” with 70% access and very few cars moved according to O’Brien. Enforcement began on March 15th which increased compliance In the first week, there were 35 tows and 85 tickets issued. Councilor LaMattina commented that the program is going well. “I see a real difference,” he said.
Street resurfacing will also start this Spring on the following streets: Fulton, Lewis and Richmond. Salem Street is scheduled to have its sewers re-lined with resurfacing after that.