Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Clean(er) Beacon Hill

The "Green Machine" on Phillips Street
Beacon Hill, Boston
April 24, 2010

Yesterday was Boston Shines, the annual citywide cleanup organized by Boston Mayor Tom Menino's Office of Neighborhood Services. I have been participating in neighborhood cleanups on Beacon Hill since I moved here back in 1999. I got behind the wheel of my Honda early Saturday and delivered brooms, trash bags and a variety of other tools to three volunteer stations around the neighborhood. Then I helped get volunteers started at the Phillips Street Park, before doing some cleaning of my own.

When I started, I noticed something quite striking. The streets around Phillips Street Park were fairly clean to begin with. Certainly cleaner than during other Spring cleanups. There are a couple of reasons for this. In my opinion, the biggest reason is the increased effectiveness of street sweeping, and the effectiveness is because of the strict enforcement of posted street sweeping signs.

You leave your car on a Beacon Hill street when that street is posted for street sweeping, and your car will be towed. Period. As I have said many times before on this blog, you have to remove the cars in order for the street sweeper to be effective. I pointed out to the residents I saw yesterday that the towing was the reason streets felt cleaner than they have been in the past. Just a few months ago, before street sweeping started again on April 1, the streets were a mess.

A second reason---and one that cannot be overlooked---is the ongoing, consistent efforts of neighbors to clean up their own streets. Current and former members of the Beacon Hill Civic Association's City Service Committee, including Jack Fitzgerald and Keeta Gillmore, were out and about yesterday.

A few volunteers got to witness my obvious excitement yesterday when Beacon Hill was visited by the infamous "Green Machine." It's smaller than a normal street sweeper, and it has been patrolling downtown Boston streets since 2005. Pictured above, the machine is a welcomed site. My friend Kim Jennings noted, "That thing can move." Simple pleasures when one is wrapping up a Spring cleanup day.

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