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Daley Proposes Changes to Street Sweeping

By Kevin Robinson in News on Mar 24, 2010 3:40PM

Photo by lobstar28.
In yet another cost cutting move, Mayor Daley is proposing changes to the way the city allocates street sweeping services. Currently street sweeping is done by ward, with 50 street sweepers, one assigned to each ward. This gives aldermen more control over how the streets get cleaned in their ward. Under the mayor's plan, however, the city would switch to a grid system, breaking Chicago up into 33 equal sized "chucks", the Tribune is reporting. Daley says that the switch will lead to more efficient cleaning of city streets, and of course cost savings. "If this side is one ward -- of the street -- and that's the other side, we can only street clean one side one day and the other the other day," Daley said Tuesday. "Now you clean both at the same time."

And while 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti says he's long supported moving to a grid system, both for street sweeping and garbage pick-up - ‘It only makes sense to go to a grid,” he told the Tribune - not all aldermen are excited about the prospect of losing control over how their wards are serviced. "We understand there is a major crisis in terms of the dollars we need to adequately do the job we're trying to do," 28th Alderman Ed Smith said. "But planning is a major part of whatever you do. Who sits down and plans, makes sure everybody is consulted in this process? You don't want to get planned out of the process. That's what we're very concerned about." Smith says that cutting the number of street sweepers could be a problem for aldermen trying to keep their wards clean. 33rd Ward Alderman Dick Mell also expressed concern over the plan, saying that he assigns street sweepers based on special needs, such as a block party or neighborhood festival. “We have special street-sweeping schedules because we have the ability to do that,” Mell said. “Once they start on that grid system, you are never going to have control of it.”

Daley says that aldermen need to be prepared to make concessions as the city pushes to save money. "It's called efficiency, saving money," Daley said.