Saturday, March 31, 2007

The North-South debate: More street-cleaning math

Setting up this year's street-cleaning schedules for the 43rd Ward Street-Cleaning Alert System, I noticed that the 43rd Ward's Gold Coast neighborhood south of North Avenue (known as "the Boot") gets street cleaning every week rather than once a month. That means that they get four times the street-cleaning service that the rest of the ward (and most of the city) receives. What gives? Why the special treatment?

After all, street cleaning costs a good deal of money. The extra service the Boot gets costs the ward thousands of extra dollars per month. It's simply not feasible to sweep every street in the city every week. It would cost, you might imagine, four times what it costs currently.

To give you a better idea of how unfair this is, street cleaning begins April 1, and we really need it. Yet while the Gold Coast streets are going to be cleaned four times in April, there are many parts of our ward that are not going to be cleaned until May, if at all.

The following streets will be cleaned for the first time this year on May 8:

Armitage (Halsted to Clark) North Side
Belden (Halsted to Lincoln Park West) South Side
Dickens (Clark to Howe) South Side
Grant Place (Sedgwick to Geneva Terrace) North Side
Howe (Dickens to Armitage) East Side
Webster (Halsted to Lincoln Park West) North Side

By May 8, the following streets will already have been cleaned six times:

Astor (Division to North Avenue) West Side
Banks (State to Lake Shore Dr) North Side
Schiller (State to Lake Shore Dr) North Side
Scott (State to Lake Shore Dr) North Side
State (Division to North Avenue) West Side

There are a number of streets not even on the schedule, namely on routes 28 through 32 (the new numbering system). I don't even know what those are!

I first noticed this last year. The Gold Coast routes are pretty old, and I believe they were the earliest zoned street-cleaning routes. Still, what makes the Gold Coast more special for street cleaning than the rest of the ward? I believe the explanation is that it's because it's within the official "city center" and the council long ago decided that the area, presumably being more densely populated and more occupied by business, residents, and tourists than the rest of the city, merited more frequent street cleaning. But the residential and business density of Southeast Lakeview, for example, is quite comparable to that of the Boot, if not even greater in terms of business. Yet they get to live with the confusing new once-a-month street-cleaning signs.

In a city crying pauper, why does this luxury remain for the Gold Coast? Cutting down to once-a-month cleaning in the downtown area would save us millions per year and it would also be more equitable. I've got a call in to Chuck Eastwood about this.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

And what did Chuck say?

12:44 AM  
Blogger Peter Zelchenko said...

No reply.

9:08 AM  

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