Petition results in (street) sweeping changes
By Eric Heyl
Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Ira Katz is irritated. He believes his street deserves at least an occasional scrubbing.
Katz recently observed city of Pittsburgh workers taking down the street sweeping signs that long were affixed to the telephone poles on Burchfield Avenue in Squirrel Hill. By calling the city's 311 response line, he learned why.
“They told me there was no more street cleaning on my street,” said Katz, 55, whose family has lived on the quiet, tree-lined avenue for decades. “They said a majority of people who lived here had signed a petition to discontinue it. I don't understand why anyone in their right mind would want to discontinue something like that.”
Street sweeping is an issue profoundly lacking in both excitement and importance. Owing to budget cuts and aging equipment, the city scaled back the program in recent years to the point that it clears many residential streets only on a monthly basis between April and November.
But Katz would prefer having the street swept infrequently to not having it swept at all. He has contacted city Public Works Director Ralph Kaczorowski and City Councilman Corey O'Connor attempting to reverse a decision based on just 21 petition signatures from the street's 27 residences. Whether that constitutes a majority of Burchfield residents is unclear, as several of the street's houses are divided into apartments.
Katz is irked that he is denied a service readily available to other city residents and paid for in part by his tax dollars.
“Can this happen on any city street?” he asked. “Can anyone present a petition to the public works department and get their street cleaning stopped?”
Can anyone do that?
“That's what we're trying to figure out,” said O'Connor, forced into the role of reluctant referee in the dispute between neighbors.
O'Connor said he is researching the issue and would like to develop a citywide policy governing street sweeping, perhaps similar to the one overseeing residential permit parking. Inclusion in that program requires at least one member of 70 percent of a block's households to sign a petition requesting permit parking on their street.
“We don't have the answer today,” O'Connor said. “But we have to figure out a policy that works and is fair to everyone, a policy that hopefully could be a pilot program for the city.”
Robert Mariano, 65, who has lived on Burchfield since 1976, initiated the petition drive. He said Burchfield residents were weary of getting a ticket for forgetting to move their vehicles on street sweeping days. He added that it has been difficult for everyone to find a place to park on the other side of the street on those days.
Mariano is surprised over the consternation the petition drive caused.
“We don't have a lot of pop cans or litter on the street, never have,” he said. “So what are we gaining by the street cleaning?”
Katz places considerably more value on the service.
“If the streets aren't cleaned, we're going to have more mice, more rats,” he said. “If they aren't going to do it anymore, I'd like some relief on my taxes.”
Eric Heyl is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7857 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers to release LaMarr Woodley; Taylor apparently staying
- Spring training breakdown: Orioles 7, Pirates 6
- Kovacevic: Big Ben’s contract clock ticking
- Poll: Uninsured rate drops, but Hispanics lag in sign-ups
- Deaths from heroin, pain pills called ‘urgent,’ growing’ crisis
- Pirates notebook: Martin finding power stroke
- Harper hires another attorney to handle request to reduce sentence
- Kittanning youths OK after Route 422 crash
- Fear of building collapse closes Tarentum road
- Penn State’s Franklin cherishes memories of time spent in Pittsburgh
- Primanti’s manager admits stealing $30,000 from restaurants