Sweeping away tickets

Get ready for a kinder, gentler and probably less effective street-sweeping program.

First District Councilman Frank DiCicco has requested the Philadelphia Parking Authority stop issuing tickets to residents who fail to move their vehicles on cleaning days. The change will take effect at the start of next week.

DiCicco made the announcement Monday, calling it another "twist in the program." He maintained that issuing tickets was necessary to make street sweeping effective, but after numerous complaints to his office, chance meetings with upset residents and a discussion with his staff, he has decided to suspend the practice.

"I still think the majority of people are probably in favor of it," he said, "but it is difficult to gauge."

The city’s mechanical brooms will continue to brush away dirt and debris to the best of their ability, according to the schedule posted on signs on each block. It is up to the people living on the block whether they want their street cleaned, DiCicco said.

Residents have several options.

They can continue moving their cars at the times posted. They also can call the councilman’s office and arrange for another day and time for weekly cleanings, or they can choose not to have their street swept.

"It obviously is not going to work as well in terms of cleaning," DiCicco said, "but there are options now for residents to make those decisions."

This is just the latest modification since street sweeping was introduced as a pilot program in the fall of 1999.

By May 2000, Council President Anna Verna and Northeast Philly Council members Joan Krajewski and Richard Mariano jointly submitted a resolution effectively ending cleaning in their districts because of complaints about ticketing.

Then, last November, DiCicco ordered the service stopped early for the winter after his office was deluged with complaints. Cleaning resumed on schedule in March, but not without changes — smaller streets would only be cleaned on one side and the start time on the earliest blocks was pushed back one hour.

DiCicco is not sure about the future of the program or if ticketing will be reinstated.

"We’ll have to wait and see," he said. "We have changed it a couple times in the past. I thought we did a better job once we removed those [small] streets … but we are still getting the complaints. We’ll see how this works out."