Baltimore expands street sweeping operation without increasing budget
Through increases in program efficiency and with the cooperation of residents, Baltimore plans to expand its street-sweeping program by 76,000 street miles without additional expenditure.
Street sweeping’s long-planned expansion from just the downtown area to more than 90 percent of the city means some outlying streets will begin receiving regular sweeping for the first time ever, according to The Baltimore Sun.
However, no new sweepers have been purchased, no additional operators have been hired and no increases are expected to be made to the city’s $3.4 million street sweeping budget. Jeff Raymond, a spokesman for the Department of Public Works told The Baltimore Sun that although the new plan will add tens of thousands of street-miles to the sweepers’ coverage areas, no additional resources will be required.
“The program has always worked well,” Raymond told The Baltimore Sun. “We’re just figuring out ways to make it more efficient.” The efficiencies to expand the program were found using computer programs that mapped out the best routes through the city, maximizing miles swept against time spent.
The new system divides the city into quadrants; the Northwest and Southeast portions of the city will be swept on the first and second Wednesdays of each month, and the Northeast and Southwest portions will be swept on the third and fourth Wednesdays, according to Baltimore Department of Public Works’ materials. Sweeping will occur during daytime work hours, when few cars will be parked on residential streets.
And rather than putting up new signage to remind residents when to move their vehicles and relying on parking enforcement to ensure they do, officials say the program will rely on residents’ communication and cooperation.
Raymond told The Baltimore Sun that the city will continue to communicate with residents as the project moves forward, and officials say they will re-evaluate whether to post signage after the program gets underway. Right now, he hopes residents will be able to establish regular schedules of the narrow timeframe when their block will be affected on sweeping days, and act accordingly.