Aldermen to discuss street sweeper cutbacks

March 31, 2010 9:37:08 AM PDT
The Chicago City Council will hold a special meeting to challenge the mayor's plan to cut the number of street sweepers. Aldermen are expected to take a vote to maintain the current system for street sweeping, where each of the city's 50 wards are assigned one street sweeper.

Mayor Richard Daley wants to maintain only 40 street sweepers and clean neighborhoods on a grid system. The change saves money but will result in a reduction in the frequency of street cleaning.

Street sweepers return to the city neighborhoods Thursday.

Some aldermen are worried about losing the control they now have to make sure their wards stay clean.

Alderman Willie Cochran, whose ward includes the Woodlawn, Englewood and Back of the Yards communities, says he is concerned about the changes because some wards demand more service than others.

"One of the good things about having a truck in your ward at your access is that you can call the superintendant, and you can tell him these streets need to be taken care of," said Cochran.

Cochran says in his ward main streets are cleaned every day, and side streets are swept once every four to five weeks. He said he is concerned the cleaning will be less frequent with the new system.

Alderman Bob Fioretti of the 2nd Ward says he has long advocated the city should go to a grid system.

"If the grid system works properly and effectively, we will have clean streets throughout the city, and not just in parts. There will be some exceptions, for instance, when they have block parties and need extra help with cleanup," said Fioretti.

The goal of this plan is to streamline the Streets and Sanitation Department without layoffs.