May 31, 2024 - News

When Philadelphia's massive summer cleanup will hit your block

Animated illustration of a broom landing in Center City, Philadelphia, and sweeping the street.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Mayor Cherelle Parker's ambitious 13-week citywide cleanup program begins Monday.

Why it matters: Crews will target issues aimed at improving Philadelphians' quality of life — from sweeping streets to patching potholes to cleaning SEPTA stations.

How it works: Crews from 12 government agencies will clean every block of the city on a coordinated schedule by the week of Aug. 26.

  • They'll start Monday in Northeast Philly's Frankford neighborhood, and then move to Juniata, Harrowgate, Kensington, Richmond and Bridesburg.

Zoom in: Teams will clean areas the day after the neighborhood's scheduled sanitation collection.

  • At least 130 sanitation employees will come equipped with sweepers, compactors, backpack blowers, weed wackers and other tools.
  • Other agencies will address abandoned autos, conduct inspections of vacant properties, remove graffiti, patch potholes, and clean SEPTA transit stations.

Plus: The school district will clean certain neighborhood schools along the same schedule.

  • Police will conduct enforcement for nuisance businesses.
  • The city's parking authority will replace old and faded signage.

By the numbers: The program will clean 18,000 blocks over 1,823 miles, including 129 commercial corridors.

The big picture: The project could be a defining one that builds goodwill for the new administration and helps Philly shed its "Filthadelphia" moniker.

  • It's the first major effort led by Parker's new Office of Clean and Green Initiatives, and comes as the administration is negotiating its budget proposal, including $36 million for the division.

Between the lines: It's unclear how much the summer cleanup program will cost.

  • While most of the work will use existing staff and tools, additional costs could come from overtime.

What they're saying: "This has never been done," Carlton Williams, director of the clean and green office, told Axios on Friday.

Flashback: The city attempted a similar citywide cleaning effort in 2007 under then-Mayor John Street. But it only involved the city's Department of Streets.

🔍 1 cool thing: Crews will track their progress via an app, where they also can take photos of performed work.

  • That data will be available on a city website for residents to follow.

What's to come: The city's neighborhood cleaning schedule is:

  • Week of June 10: Olney, Fern Rock, East Oak Lane, Hunting Park, Franklin and Feltonville
  • June 17: Strawberry Mansion, Brewerytown, Glenwood, Tioga and Allegheny West
  • June 24: Fairhill, West Kensington, Fishtown, Northern Liberties, Poplar and Yorktown
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