Berkeley Street Sweeping

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On October 6, 1987, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 54,513-N.S. which authorized the Public Works Department to implement a Residential Street Sweeping Program (SSP) using controlled parking. The program established no parking areas on certain days and
times for street sweeping. Prior to this date, parked cars on residential streets impeded the effectiveness of the mechanical sweepers. In addition, the problem of abandoned cars on residential streets was prevalent in many communities.

To address this concern, the PWC recommended that the City Council approve changes in the parking control regulations to implement the SSP. This would allow the use of enforcement, citation, and towing to remove parked and abandoned cars on residential streets to ensure effective street sweeping.


berkeley's 1944 Street SweeperThe current SSP as outlined in the FY94/95 budget provides for monthly mechanical sweeping of 300 curb miles of residential streets (including leaf removal operations); and monthly mechanical sweeping of 1,060 curb miles of commercial/industrial area streets. In addition, there are 1,812 square feet of steam cleaning and hand sweeping targeted in four commercial areas (Telegraph Avenue, downtown Shattuck, University Avenue, and Adeline-Alcatraz Avenues) on a monthly basis.

Residential Street Sweeping

The current policy for residential street sweeping is for monthly mechanical sweeping utilizing controlled parking restrictions. Certain streets in the city such as those in the Berkeley hills are excluded from the SSP because of the steep, windy road grades, narrow streets, or absence of curbs. To provide roadside cleaning services, these streets are included under the City's Leaf Removal Program. Commercial/Industrial Street Sweeping

Daily mechanical service on major arterials, center islands, and in commercial/industrial areas are provided. Approximately 1,060 curb miles of commercial/industrial streets are swept per month.

Hand sweeping service (sidewalk and street curb areas) on Telegraph Avenue, downtown Shattuck Avenue, University Avenue, and Adeline-Alcatraz Avenues is provided daily. There is also a sidewalk sweeper that is used daily.

Leaf Removal Program

Residential streets identified as being within heavy leaf fall areas receive additional leaf removal services nine months out of the year. This program operates from August through April. Determination of a "heavy leaf fall area" is based on the age and maturity of the street trees, and density of vehicular traffic. Leaf removal operations are performed on a rotational basis with frequent sweeping performed in heavy leaf fall areas. A leaf
vacuum machine which allows sweeping around parked cars is used. Occasionally, sign age is posted to obtain a thorough leaf sweeping. All areas not included in the SSP due to steep road grades, narrow street widths, and absence of curbs receive leaf removal services.


Implementation of the SSP began in October 1987 as four phases. These four phases represent four geographical areas of the city: Phase I (south sector of the city); Phase II (south sector); Phase III (northwest sector); and Phase IV (northeast sector). A map of these four areas is attached. Phases I through III were already implemented when residents within Phase IV notified their Council representatives of their desire to withdraw from the SSP because it was no longer necessary for the health and safety of their neighborhood. These communities have made extensive efforts to gain support from their City Council representatives to opt out of the local program. The general understanding is that these residents viewed the program as a revenue generating exercise and wanted to avoid the inconvenience to parked vehicles.

Council then requested the PWC to look Into developing an opt out process. The Commission at that time advised Council against this process and to continue implementation of Phase IV. However, Council directed City staff to develop a policy to include the opt out process which halted implementation of the SSP and started Inclusion of the opt out process back to Phase 1.

On May 7, 1991, the City Council authorized the City Manager to permit certain areas of the City to withdraw by petition from participation in the SSP. This is noted on Resolution No. 55,860-N.S. The effect of the opt out process is the elimination of controlled parking for that block. The mechanical sweeper will continue to sweep street curbs if it is possible and if the sweeper has to pass through the block to arrive at a block participating In the SSP.

The following criteria is used to determine if a block can withdraw from the SSP.

1. The block must be identified by the Assistant City Manager for Public Works as a low litter area.
2. The block must be single-family and residential in nature. Generally, areas not eligible for opt out are: commercial and industrial districts; residential streets adjacent to high use recreational facilities; and joint commercial/residential use
3. Residents from 66% of the households on both sides of the street must sign an opt out petition and accept responsibility for cleaning the street curb area.
4. Supervisors will make periodic inspections of the streets which have opted out and monitor citizen complaints. Recommendations for reinstatement into the program will be made for those streets with continuing litter problems.
5. Re-entry into the SSP could be accomplished after an exclusion period of not less than six months by petition of 66% of the
households on that street.
6. Following certification by the Assistant City Manager of Public Works that a block has met the criteria in Nos. 1 through 3, a public hearing will be held by the PWC.
7. The City Manager or his/her designee shall have Council authority to approve petitions for entry and exit from the program.

These communities were given a 30-day time period to determine whether to participate or opt out of the SSP. The decision period for the four phases expired on February 28, 1992. On April 8, 1993, the PWC sponsored a Public Hearing on the fourth and final phase of the SSP; and presented Council with a recommendation on November 16, 1993 to approve implementation of the final phase of the SSP along with inclusion of specific streets previously omitted from the SSP. However, opt out requests were still accepted until Council placed the moratorium in June 1994. Most of these requests after November 16, 1993 were from streets In the last phase, Phase IV.

A summarized chronology of events and decisions as it relates to the local SSP is given in Table 1.


Streets in the SSP are swept regularly. Residential streets are swept monthly, and commercial/industrial streets are swept dally. Streets that have opted out of the SSP are swept only if it is possible to get a sweeper between the parked vehicles and if the sweeper is enroute to a street participating in the SSP. In addition, there are a few streets that do not get swept as mandated by the City Manager. These streets are omitted primarily because of noise complaints. In the event of a sweeper breakdown, staff rescheduling, or city holiday, there is an attempt to return to the area during that month, but sweeping at the later time is done without enforced parking.

City staff have attempted to be responsive to the needs of city residents. Although there were problems in coordinating the sweeping and parking enforcement activities when the program first began, at this point, problems are relatively rare. Parking enforcement staff maintain no more than a block length ahead of the sweeper and they wait around corners for the sweeper. This is done to avoid excessive ticketing of vehicles in the event the sweeper experiences sudden mechanical failures or the sweeper is suddenly rerouted. Parking Enforcement staff also allow parking on the streets after the sweeper has passed, although the time is still within the no parking time period as noted on the signs. Sweeping is also scheduled to allow parking on the other side of the street.


The overall cleanliness of the city has improved since implementation of the local Street Sweeping Program and Leaf Removal Program. There is less litter in the sidewalk and gutter areas in residential and main commercial areas due to the concentrated hand and mechanical sweeping.

The SSP has exceeded its budgeted performance based on curb miles. The SSP as budgeted for FY94/95 is for 300 curb miles of residential streets and 1,020 curb miles of commercial and industrial streets. The average monthly curb miles for FY92/93 and FY93/94 are shown

The effectiveness of the opt out process is difficult to gage. It can be viewed effective as it reduced community resistance to primarily Phase IV implementation and it allowed residents to assume cleaning responsibility for their street and curb areas. On the other hand, it hindered implementation of the SSP. Referring to Table 1, one can project that Phase IV would have been implemented by December 1991. The inclusion of the opt out
process delayed implementation of the overall SSP for 28 months.

Another disadvantage is that the opt out process may dilute the quality of the overall SSP efforts if block sweeping is not performed regularly or properly. Inspection and enforcement of these opt out blocks need to be performed regularly. In addition, there is a need for better public information pertaining to operation, areal extent, and frequency

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