Trading Clean Streets & Streams For Parking

 

“UN-LITTER THIS: Retired environmental engineer Kelly O'Day at Tacony Creek, where litter from nearby streets washes into storm drains and, eventually, the creek itself.” | Photo: Mark Stehle, for City Paper

“UN-LITTER THIS: Retired environmental engineer Kelly O’Day at Tacony Creek, where litter from nearby streets washes into storm drains and, eventually, the creek itself.” | Photo: Mark Stehle, for City Paper

  • With environmental concerns for the Chesapeake as a catalyst, Baltimore recently committed $3.25 million to have about 90% of its streets cleaned at least once a month. Up here in Philly, June Cantor, spokesperson for the Streets Department, says we could do better (twice a week!) for merely $3 million (after an initial investment of $18 million for equipment). So what’s keeping this so-called “Filthadelphia” from cleaner streets? The assumed right of its citizens to maintain its street parking spots. “Many residents do not wish to move their cars [on street-cleaning days]. … Even when we had the limited residential program, many neighborhoods declined the service,” Cantor says. City Paper’s Ryan Briggs explains how a one-time immaculate city suffered under the austerity of the Reagan years and the luddism of its local municipal unions.
About the author

Stephen Currall recently received his BA in history from Arcadia University. Before beginning doctoral studies, he is pursuing his interest in local history, specifically just how Philadelphians engage their vibrant past. Besides skimming through 18th century letters, Steve is also interested in music and travel.

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