- The Washington Times - Monday, March 10, 2003

The city, which couldn't clear the side streets after the big snow, conceded yesterday that it can't pick up the trash on the streets now.
Lots of trash is accumulating at curbside, too, waiting for the garbage trucks. There's more trash than potholes on many streets.
The trash was too much for some D.C. residents yesterday. They started a do-it-yourself movement, picking up paper, cans, bottles and the residue of government neglect. Residents from Capitol Hill to Georgetown were out on the streets with brooms, taking advantage of temperatures in the 50s that seemed almost balmy, trying to make a little order.
"I pick up the stuff that falls between here and there because the city doesn't do it," said James Fournier, pointing to a stretch of curb and sidewalk in front of his home in the unit block of Bryant Street NW.
A city official acknowledged that D.C. streets need a good spring cleaning but said the cleaning will have to wait for spring.
"The cleanliness rate drops in winter," D.C. Public Works spokesman Mary Myers said yesterday. "But the situation is typical for this time of year."
The problem, Miss Myers said, is that water sprayed by the sweeper carts to control dust can also create ice on roads.
The routine cleaning of neighborhood streets is suspended from early January to mid-March, though the District deploys eight of its sweepers along commercial streets for spot cleanings during that time.
"I've never noticed the difference," said Mr. Fournier, 33, a lawyer.
The city's fleet of 33 street sweepers will begin scouring the District on March 17. The 14-ton, diesel-engine carts hug the curbs as two rotating brooms brush litter onto conveyer belts that feed a 1-ton hopper.
The cleaning schedules are posted along residential streets on permanent, metal street signs. Motorists who fail to move their vehicles will be fined $30, up from $10, an increase imposed, along with other dramatic increases, by the city.
Donald Miller, a retired U.S. Postal Service letter-carrier, said his neighbors on Neal Street NE chip in to keep the curbs and gutters litter free.
It is a civic duty, he said. "I've seen people come up and clean trash all up and down the street," said Mr. Miller, 73. "It is the responsibility of the people in the neighborhood."
He thinks the heavy snowfall created more trash in the streets, despite what city officials say. "Streets are dirtier than they usually are," he said.
Though Mr Miller didn't blame D.C. officials, one Capitol Hill merchant was less forgiving. Moe Geddawi, 27, manager of Cosi restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue SE, said he had never seen a street sweeper or evidence of their work in the area.
"Some beer bottles here and there," he said. "It's normal."
Mr. Geddawi hopes the return of street-cleaning crews would make a difference, but he wasn't optimistic. "I'm glad if they are going to do it," he said. "If the streets get clean, that would be nice."
Ipori Lake, a law student living near the restaurant, said her street was clean, but that's expected in a neighborhood that is home to some of the country's most powerful residents. "You'd expect it to be clean on Capitol Hill," she said.

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