It was the quiet before the storm at last week’s Public Works Department community meeting at the Nazzaro Community Center as plans were presented for year-round Mechanical Street Cleaning program in the North End.
The program, geared towards keeping the neighborhood streets and curbs clean, is scheduled to begin during the first week in December on Tuesdays and Thursdays for four months. The current program runs from April 1 to November 30.
DPW officials claim that the extension of mechanical street cleaning will also create a reduction in rodent food services.
"I understand that there are residents opposed to this plan," Frank O’Brien, PR Administrative Assistant for DPW told the large crowd of residents in attendance.
"This pilot program is going to happen. It has the support of the Mayor and Councilor LaMattina. The program which needs to be tried will be evaluated in the spring," he added.
O’Brien said, "During inclement weather, the street cleaning will not happen and no ticketing or towing will take place."
Residents can find out when street cleaning is canceled by calling 617-635-4500.
O’Brien also told residents, "despite rumors, residents can immediately re-park their vehicles once the curbs have been cleaned."
In order to make this program work cars need to be moved.
O’Brien said, DPW will distribute flyers, post information on websites and local papers, change the signage and develop a community ad campaign using a mailing."
Councilor LaMattina asked residents to "give the program a chance, it’s the only way North End streets can be kept clean."
Then the storm came as many residents expressed opposition to the City’s proposal, many on the grounds that if they have to move their vehicles, there’s no place to move them to.
One member of the North End/Waterfront Neighborhood Council expressed anger that the elected community group was not notified of the proposal before the public meeting. He clearly noted that he felt DPW was working with another committee only and failed to advise most residents and NEWNC as well.
Negative discussions continued for awhile until about eight to ten residents walked out of the meeting.
However, as usual, proponents of the plan did not stand-up to support the DPW plan.
A lot of the meeting ventured off course when residents brought up trash removal, rodent control, trash pickers, fines to landlords that have someone else’s trash dumped in front of their buildings and street cleaners with brooms and shovels not doing a good job.
One resident said, "When I asked the street cleaner to clean-up an area that had left over trash on the ground, he told me, they (City) don’t pay me enough money to do that."
Another resident told O’Brien "the street cleaners aren’t doing their job, you can find them sleeping at Columbus Park."
Still another resident claimed "the trash problem is because of absentee landlords and students that live in the community who don’t care."
Also attending the meeting were: Elmo Baldassari Deputy Commissioner DPW and John Meany Principal Health Inspector ISD.
DPW will hold another community meeting on Tuesday, October 19 at 7pm in the Nazzaro Community Center.