Philadelphia’s Summer Clean-Up: Mayor Parker’s Ambitious Plan

Mayor Cherelle Parker announces an ambitious plan to clean every block in Philadelphia for 13 weeks this summer. The initiative aims to address quality of life issues, improve living conditions and create a greener, cleaner city.

Key learning points:

  • Philadelphia aims to clean every block in the city over a 13-week period this summer.
  • Mayor Cherelle Parker created the Clean and Green Cabinet to oversee the initiative.
  • The program addresses litter, abandoned cars, graffiti, nuisance caused by companies and illegal dumping.

Philadelphia’s ambitious summer cleanup plan

Philadelphia has ambitious goals to become the cleanest major city in the United States.

Mayor Cherelle Parker’s administration has announced a comprehensive plan to clean every block in the city over a 13-week period this summer.

New plan to create a cleaner environment

On May 17, 2024, Mayor Parker signed an executive order establishing Philadelphia’s Clean and Green Cabinet and the Office of Clean and Green Initiatives.

The city wants to promote “cooperation between departments and between agencies in the fight against quality of life problems, such as litter, abandoned cars, graffiti, nuisance businesses and illegal dumping.

As of June 3, workers are actively picking up trash, sweeping streets, filling potholes, removing abandoned cars and repairing abandoned buildings throughout the city.

The goal is to make Philadelphia a better place to live, work and visit.

We know our city struggles with quality of life issues such as blight, graffiti and illegal dumping, abandoned cars and potholes, tractor trailers parked in neighborhoods; These issues negatively impact far too many communities,said Carlton Williams, director of the Office of Clean and Green Initiatives.

Mayor Parker’s vision for a cleaner Philadelphia

This initiative is part of Mayor Parker’s pledge to make Philadelphia the “safest, cleanest, and greenest major city” in the United States, a commitment she made during her inaugural address in January 2024.

The plan includes a crackdown on motorists who park on the streets in the 14 neighborhoods being cleaned as part of the Mechanical Street Cleaning Program, which runs from April through November each year.

Promoting Community Engagement for a Cleaner Philadelphia

The Mechanical Street Cleaning Program uses mechanical brooms to sweep up street debris and clean selected city routes. In addition, sanitation workers clean certain routes with backpack blowers and hand brooms.

Mayor Parker emphasized the importance of community involvement, saying, “All Philadelphians want a cleaner, safer, and greener Philly. This is what I mean when I say, “One Philly.”

The program involves a dedicated team of 38 people tasked with finding ways to make Philly cleaner and greener.

Carlton Williams emphasized the magnitude of the effort: “Cleaning up every neighborhood, every block at a time by fixing potholes, abandoned properties, vacant cars, abandoned cars. We have the people here to do it; were excited.

Local support and optimism for better city cleanliness

South Philadelphia resident Duncan Lloyd expressed his support for the initiative, saying, “Obviously, summer is a big tourist time for people to visit Philadelphia, and first impressions go a long way. So if you’re not from the city and see a cleaner, neater Philadelphia, I think you’ll want to come back.

City workers are expected to collect trash, sweep streets, fill potholes, repair abandoned properties and address illegal dumping.

These efforts are intended to address residents’ long-standing complaints and improve the overall appearance of the city.

Citywide Cleanup: Planning and Collaborative Efforts

The city has released a schedule showing when each neighborhood will be cleaned. Visit the Office of Clean and Green Initiatives for more information.

The “One Philly, A United City” Citywide Clean-Up Program involves numerous city departments and agencies, including the Office of Clean and Green Initiatives, Sanitation Department, Community Life Improvement Program, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Philadelphia Commerce Department, Philadelphia Water Department, Philadelphia Police Department, Philadelphia Parking Authority, Licensing and Inspections, Streets Department, Office of Sustainability, SEPTA, and the School District of Philadelphia.

Nonprofits such as the PHL Taking Care of Business commercial corridor cleanup partners, Mural Arts and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society are also involved.

City staff will use a smartphone application called Quick Capture to track and collect data on work performed.

The data is mapped into a centralized geospatial database and summarized on the Office of Clean and Green website.

Objectives and expected results of the Cleanup Initiative

Some of the key objectives and expected results are:

  • Cleaning approximately 18,000 blocks, good for 3,000 kilometers.
  • Cleaning 129 commercial corridors with the help of 39 commercial corridor cleaning partners employing more than 300 Cleaning Ambassadors.
  • Cleaning 10-20 schools in each district.
  • Fulfilling outstanding work orders and performing tree maintenance at 40 parks and recreation centers throughout the city.
  • Carrying out inspections and performing “clean and seals” of abandoned properties.
  • Removing graffiti.
  • Filling gaps in every neighborhood.
  • Investigating 311 complaints, issuing warnings and towing abandoned vehicles.
  • Perform surface maintenance at 40 green stormwater infrastructure locations and more than 840 PWD intake locations.
  • Cleaning, reducing and maintaining millions of square feet of vacant land through the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Community Life Improvement Program and LandCare program.
  • Greening 30,000 square meters of vacant land by adding soil, grass and fencing to destroyed plots.
  • Cleaning, pressure washing and sanitizing of more than 30 SEPTA transit interchanges and stations, focusing on entrances, exits and platforms.

Engage the community and monitor the progress of the cleanup

The Office of Clean and Green Initiatives encourages public participation.

Residents can get involved by becoming block captains, organizing community cleanups or submitting 311 requests to identify problems in their neighborhood.

The city will track and collect data using a smartphone application, Quick Capture. This application allows participating departments to record and summarize completed work in a centralized geospatial database.

The results will be shared with the public via a map on the Office of Clean and Green Initiatives website, highlighting progress and upcoming cleanup schedules.

The “One Philly, A United City” program is a joint effort between the city and its residents to create a safer, cleaner and greener Philadelphia.