Special to the Patriot-Bridge
Mayor Thomas M. Menino recently launched an early start to an aggressive spring cleanup effort, dispatching Clean Teams to city neighborhoods after a winter in which Boston experienced severe weather and unprecedented snowfall. The Mayor has directed city agencies and departments to work together and engage residents to implement a more aggressive and more coordinated approach to clearing the city’s roadways and neighborhoods of winter’s remnants. Clean Teams are holding neighborhood walkthroughs in business districts to identify “quick hits,” problems that can be easily fixed, while weekend and overnight street sweeping has begun in business districts and main arterials, weeks ahead regular street sweeping. This all comes ahead of the annual citywide cleanup weekend, Boston Shines, which takes place at the end of April.
“The severe weather this winter has had a significant impact on our streets and neighborhoods. We are getting a jump on the cleanup, bringing all hands on deck to make sure our roads are safe and our neighborhoods are clean as we look forward to spring,” said Mayor Menino. “Winter may be ending but the cleanup work is just beginning.”
The Mayor has ordered walkthroughs in neighborhood business districts, joining Public Works managers with representatives of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, Boston Main Streets, and Parks Department to identify problem areas and coordinate cleanup strategies tailored to the specific needs of each business district and neighborhood. Throughout the month, crews from each department will aggressively work to make sure that Boston is fit for spring.
Public Works will begin street sweeping in business districts and on main arteries and targeted areas on weekends and overnight. Residents are asked to adhere to posted parking signs to assist in the cleanup efforts. Public Works has deployed street sweeping machines throughout the city, as well as litter basket crews with equipment to pick up and remove trash. An extended street sweeping pilot program is underway in the North End, where sweeping began on March 1. Citywide neighborhood sweeping and enforcement will begin on April 1.
Pothole Patrol crews have been out in full force, aggressively seeking and filling more than 2,390 potholes filled over the last month. The Mayor also deployed a cutting-edge pothole filling truck nicknamed “Potzilla” that makes filling potholes more efficient by keeping asphalt at a regulated temperature and containing all equipment on one vehicle for a one-stop pothole patching process.
The Parks Department is ramping up its efforts to clear more than 100 incidents of fallen trees and branches that occurred throughout the harsh winter. Parks will also be working hard over the next month to ready the City’s baseball parks and basketball courts for local youth and residents eager to play outdoors. Plans are also on schedule to open the William Devine Golf Course at Franklin Park by the end of March.
Mayor Menino’s Office of Neighborhood Services (ONS) has reached out to Main Streets Districts and other small business organizations to address problem areas. ONS coordinators are encouraging business owners to not only contribute to the cleanup by sweeping and maintaining their own sidewalks and storefronts but by also reporting locations that may go unnoticed because they are away from the main streets of individual neighborhoods. The Mayor strongly encourages not only residents but business owners to report any problems to his 24-Hour Hotline.
Mayor Menino’s Graffiti Busters program is also working to remove graffiti and other markings from locations throughout the city. Constituents can call the Mayor’s 24-Hour Hotline at 617-635-4500 to report any graffiti they have noticed. Additionally, program coordinators are always looking for volunteer Graffiti Busters, if interested residents can call the hotline.
As targeted weekend street sweeping in neighborhoods and business districts begins over the next two weeks, residents are asked to move their vehicles so crews can clear to the curb. Parking bans for street sweeping will not be enforced, but will be posted so that residents can accommodate the cleanup.
Residents, as always, are encouraged to call the Mayor’s Hotline or use the first of its kind Citizens Connect smartphone application to report potholes, graffiti, and a host of other issues to the city. For more information about Citizens Connect visit www.cityofboston.gov/citizensconnect.
For a comprehensive list of spring cleaning tips and information, residents can visit www.cityofboston.gov/spring.