Community Health & Environment

Clean Streets Committee Discusses Priorities

The NEWRA Clean Streets Committee worked on setting new priorities at this week’s monthly meeting. Chair David Grant researched and organized a list of the group’s efforts over the past several years in order to sort through the multitude of initiatives, ideas and proposals. See the full list at the end of this post.

With 85 businesses and properties having signed up for “10 Minutes With a Broom,” the group thought this program could be taken to the next level. One idea was to coordinate with the Good Neighbor Recognition Award and give out actual brooms instead of just a certificate. Frank O’Brien from Public Works volunteered to help present the award in the future. The broom idea came out of the Spazzare program that was discontinued because the brooms were stolen from Hanover Street.

Building on the successful “Clean Streets Flyer,” it was suggested that a supplementary flyer be created focused solely on residential trash pickup guidelines. As the new semester approaches, trash pickup education is a major problem especially with transient renters. NEWRA President Stephanie Hogue thought that partnering with Salem Street True Value for 2-ply trash bag coupons could be part of the program.

In addition to the fallout over the stolen Spazzare brooms, Clean Street’s efforts have fallen victim to similar problems many times in the past. For example, several of the smoke pots donated by the North End Chamber of Commerce have been stolen from their locations.  In addition, the bags for doggie pick-up disappear quickly from the poles despite regular stocking with rolls with 400 bags. Residents say that some dog owners take the entire roll home, leaving none for other residents walking their dogs. The group will focus on dog-related issues at a later date, but the idea of having a “Dog Clean-Up” day was mentioned in coordination with one of the neighborhood dog groups.

Chair David Grant volunteered to contact other neighborhood “clean streets” groups in Beacon Hill and the South End to see if it makes sense to work on common issues. The group also plans to support the City’s Problem Properties Task Force by giving identified addresses to Councilor LaMattina’s office for follow-up. In addition, Clean Streets will reach out to the North End Chamber of Commerce and the new business group on Hanover Street, North End & Waterfront Business Association.

Public Works Department liaison Frank O’Brien announced the City will be considering changes to the street sweeping days in order to coordinate with trash pickup days. DPW is also looking to add other streets not currently part of the street sweeping program.

Street Barrels – A discussion was held regarding adding more street barrels, overflowing issues and general placement issues. Many residents at the meeting believe there are not nearly enough street barrels in the neighborhood. Others identified the ongoing issue of resident trash being placed in and around street barrels. PWD’s O’Brien commented, “I’m a broken record. In the North End, it is baffling when residential trash gets picked up three times per week, why residents place trash in the street barrels.”

Manual Street Cleaners – On a positive note, residents reported that the manual street cleaners are doing a much better job this year that has significantly helped keep the streets cleaner.

Good Neighbor Recognition Award – After a vote of nominated businesses and property owners, LoConte’s Restaurant on Salem Street is the winner of the August 2011 Clean Streets Good Neighbor Recognition Award. Look for a photo and more information in an upcoming post and the Regional Review. (View past winners.)

A complete list of topics and Clean Streets programs is shown below. The Clean Streets Committee is part of NEWRA, the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association, and can be contacted at