Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker Announces New Clean-Up Plan

Mayor Cherelle Parker announces an ambitious plan to clean every block in Philadelphia over 13 weeks this summer. The initiative aims to address quality-of-life issues, improve living conditions, and create a greener, cleaner city.

Key Takeaways:

  • Philadelphia aims to clean every block in the city over a 13-week period this summer.
  • Mayor Cherelle Parker has established the Clean and Green Cabinet to oversee the initiative.
  • The program addresses litter, abandoned cars, graffiti, nuisance businesses, and illegal dumping.

Philadelphia’s Ambitious Summer Clean-Up Plan

Philadelphia has ambitious goals of becoming the cleanest big city in the United States.

Mayor Cherelle Parker’s administration announced a comprehensive plan to clean every block in the city over a 13-week period this summer.

New Plan to Create a Cleaner Environment

On May 17, 2024, Mayor Parker signed an executive order to establish Philadelphia’s Clean and Green Cabinet and the Office of Clean and Green Initiatives.

The city aims to promote “cross-departmental and intra-agency cooperation in the fight against quality-of-life issues such as litter, abandoned autos, graffiti, nuisance businesses, and illegal dumping.

Starting June 3, workers have been actively picking up trash, sweeping streets, filling potholes, removing abandoned cars, and fixing abandoned buildings throughout the city.

The goal is to make Philadelphia a better place to live, work, and visit.

We know our city struggles with quality of life problems like blight and graffiti and illegal dumping, abandoned cars and potholes, tractor trailers parked in neighborhoods; these problems negatively impact far too many communities,” said Carlton Williams, Director of the Office of Clean and Green Initiatives.

Mayor Parker’s Vision for a Cleaner Philadelphia

This initiative is part of Mayor Parker’s promise to make Philadelphia the “safest, cleanest, greenest big city” in the United States, a commitment she made during her inaugural speech in January 2024.

The plan includes a crackdown on drivers who park on streets in the 14 neighborhoods being cleaned as part of the Mechanical Street Cleaning program, which runs from April through November each year.

Fostering Community Engagement for a Cleaner Philadelphia

The Mechanical Street Cleaning program uses mechanical brooms to sweep street debris and clean select city routes. Additionally, sanitation workers clean certain routes with backpack blowers and hand brooms.

Mayor Parker emphasized the importance of community involvement, saying, “All Philadelphians want a cleaner, safer, greener Philly. This is what I mean when I say, ‘One Philly.’

The program involves a dedicated team of 38 people tasked with finding ways to make Philly cleaner and greener.

Carlton Williams highlighted the scale of the effort: “Cleaning every neighborhood, every block at a time by fixing potholes, fixing abandoned property, vacant cars, abandoned autos. We got the people here to do it; we’re excited.

Local Support and Optimism for Enhanced City Cleanliness

South Philadelphia resident Duncan Lloyd expressed his support for the initiative, stating, “Obviously, summer is a big tourist time for folks to come into Philadelphia and, like, first impressions go a long way. So, if you’re not from the city and see a cleaner, more kept up Philadelphia, I think you’ll want to come back.

City workers are expected to collect trash, sweep streets, fill potholes, fix abandoned properties, and tackle illegal dumping.

These efforts aim to address residents’ long-standing complaints and improve the city’s overall appearance.

Citywide Clean-Up: Schedule and Collaborative Efforts

The city released a schedule showing when each neighborhood will be cleaned. For more information, visit the Office of Clean and Green Initiatives.

The “One Philly, A United City” Citywide Clean-Up program involves numerous city departments and agencies, including the Office of Clean and Green Initiatives, Sanitation Department, Community Life Improvement Program, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Philadelphia Commerce Department, Philadelphia Water Department, Philadelphia Police Department, Philadelphia Parking Authority, Licenses and Inspections, Streets Department, Office of Sustainability, SEPTA, and the School District of Philadelphia.

Non-profit organizations like the PHL Taking Care of Business commercial corridor cleaning partners, Mural Arts, and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society are also involved.

City staff will use a smartphone application called Quick Capture to track and collect data on the work performed.

The data will be mapped to a centralized geospatial database and summarized on the Office of Clean and Green’s website.

Goals and Projected Outcomes of the Cleanup Initiative

Some of the key goals and results anticipated include:

  • Cleaning approximately 18,000 blocks, encompassing 1,823 miles.
  • Cleaning 129 commercial corridors with the help of 39 commercial corridor cleaning partners employing over 300 Cleaning Ambassadors.
  • Cleaning between 10-20 schools in each district.
  • Addressing outstanding work orders and performing tree maintenance at 40 parks and recreation centers citywide.
  • Conducting inspections and performing “clean and seals” of abandoned properties.
  • Removing instances of graffiti.
  • Filling potholes in each district.
  • Investigating 311 complaints, issuing warnings, and towing abandoned vehicles.
  • Performing surface maintenance at 40 Green Stormwater Infrastructure sites and 840+ PWD inlet locations.
  • Cleaning, abating, and maintaining millions of square feet of vacant land through the Community Life Improvement Program and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s LandCare program.
  • Greening 330,000 new square feet of vacant land by adding soil, grass, and fencing to blighted lots.
  • Cleaning, pressure washing, and sanitizing over 30 SEPTA transit hubs and stations, focusing on entrances, exits, and platforms.

Engaging the Community and Tracking Cleanup Progress

The Office of Clean and Green Initiatives encourages public participation.

Residents can get involved by becoming block captains, organizing community clean-ups, or submitting 311 requests to identify issues in their neighborhoods.

The city will track and collect data using a smartphone application, Quick Capture. This application will allow participating departments to log completed work and summarize it in a centralized geo-spatial database.

The results will be shared with the public through a map on the Office of Clean and Green Initiatives’ website, highlighting the progress and upcoming cleaning schedules.

The “One Philly, A United City” program is a collaborative effort between the city and its residents to create a safer, cleaner, and greener Philadelphia.