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Although weekly street sweeping and cleaning is a major part of some of Los Angeles’ most popular roads, what is currently being done may not be enough to keep the city’s streets clean.
Some of the city’s roads have gone over a year without any type of cleaning, according to a city controller audit released Wednesday. Street sweeping is heavily used to keep debris and trash from entering the stormwater drainage system.
Streets that do not allow on-street parking during street sweeping are cleaned easily and regularly. The other two-thirds of the streets on the other hand? They’re lucky to get cleaned at all.
Los Angeles’ street cleaning team sweep the same 34% of streets every week, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“The remaining ones are swept when employees get to them — sometimes, less than once a year — or when someone complains,” Controller Ron Galperin told KTLA. In other cases, he said, streets are simply swept only if an employee has enough time or space to pick up more garbage or debris in their sweeping vehicle.
Galperin also noted that The Bureau of Street Services’ approach to sweeping most of the L.A. streets “was not clear at all”. He hopes the department will focus on collecting more data and build digital maps of sweeping routes to get a better idea of which roads need more attention.
Since the Great Recession, the department, and specifically the street-sweeping program, has seen dramatic reductions in staff. The audit found that the total amount of bureau employees decreased 58% from 263 to 111 over a decade.
The LA Times reports that during 2016 and 2015, the bureau requested 20 additional positions in an attempt to hire more street sweepers to hopefully clean the roads more often.