Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Los Angeles introduces clean streets program/metrics, measures cleanliness of every street

721-727 H Street NE, Washington, DCPhoto from Frozen Tropics.

Personally, I find DC's streets to be particularly dirty.  I find when I travel to other cities, they tend to be much cleaner, especially neighborhood streets, although of course, this isn't true for every street.

"Every Litter Bit Hurts" is a 10+ year old piece about dealing with litter in the city, based on experiences in the H Street corridor and a brief survey then of best practices, with suggestions for programs that could be implemented in DC.

For years, I've been a fan of the litter survey instrument created by Keep Australia Beautiful, because it has the kind of detail that I like.

And in my piece ("Outline for a proposed Ward-focused (DC) Councilmember campaign platform and agenda") about what I think would be a ward-focused agenda for a campaign platform and councilmember agenda, I included maintaining metrics on street cleanliness.

Los Angeles' new Clean Streets LA program ("City website rates cleanliness of streets, alleys," LA Independent blog) includes measuring cleanliness on all of the city's streets.

Note that the city already maintains a public database on road condition quality.

It's called Cleanstat.  From the website:
Each street score is based on four factors: litter, weeds, bulky items and illegal dumping. This assessment will be repeated every quarter.
Overall, they find most streets are "Clean" or "Somewhat Clean," and only 4% are "Not Clean."
Of the 39,915 road segments, 61% were rated clean, 35% were rated somewhat clean, while streets rated unclean made up 4% of total street segments.
LA has 22,000 miles of streets and alleys, so 4% still indicates a lot of dirty roads and alleys, over 800 miles.

This weekend's cleanup of parks and rivers in the Potomac/Anacostia River watershed picked up a lot of litter, which was sorted for recycling as part of the collection.  Generally, many tons of trash are collected.

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At 7:39 AM, Anonymous h st ll said...

As a now LA resident, interesting! I still own 4 row houses in DC tho. Anyway I love LA but the streets are dirty af. Possibly the dirtiest major city in the country. Hopefully this helps

At 9:33 AM, Anonymous rg said...

The suburbanites who commute through my neighborhood are disgusting slobs when it comes to littering. So are the teenage children coming and going to Eastern HS, but at least they have they have the excuse of not being fully formed adults. In my less generous moments, I dream of following those Maryland drivers home and dumping a bunch of trash on their cul-de-sac.

DC has a huge problem with littering. It drives me crazy. Every time I have volunteered for a river cleanup, I am astounded by the volume of chip bags and candy wrappers. (Mean side note: no wonder so many people I see littering are obese. They eat A LOT of chips and candy.)

At 11:49 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

I do remember going through the Fashion District and Koreatown once and being astounded at the level of trash... but I don't get to LAC much (sadly, I wasn't picked for a great job in Santa Monica, despite a great interview instead, they hired someone not quite half my age... hmm, I never thought I'd have to worry about age discrimination).

Mostly I am in Orange County when I am out there and you can imagine, the suburbs are pretty clean.

2. wrt DC while there is no question that nonresidents overcontribute to litter, I find an incredible level of indifference to trash on the part of residents in the place I've lived.

Who is going to pick it up if you don't? Years ago, IMGOPH who did a blog on Bloomingdale wrote a piece suggesting people pick up 5 (or was it 6) pieces of litter/day. If people did that it would make a difference, and in areas that are more regularly clean, others would be less inclined to litter, so over time they'd have to pick up less trash.

At 11:49 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

DCist reports that Mayor Bowser relaunched the Adopt a Block program.

At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Richard Layman said...

Apparently DC DPW has introduced a performance dashboard.

At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for Bowser! Now we should set up a program like Singapore...


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