Fall sweeping of 1,000 miles of streets has begun
Street sweeping crews have begun their annual autumn task of sweeping more than 1,000 miles of City streets. It’s a concerted effort that involves sweeping approximately 60 miles of roadway per day over the course of four weeks. Although it’s commonly called street sweeping, Public Works views it as a complete street cleaning.
There are a lot of steps involved before that sweeper can begin moving down the street.
- The daily sweeping process begins on the day before sweeping with the posting of 5,000 to 7,500 “No parking” signs on the streets that will be swept the following day.
- The next day, when the streets are free of parked vehicles, five separate Street Department crews begin cleaning streets in various areas throughout the city. The street sweeping “operations train” begins with a flusher truck spraying water to push all the leaves and debris to the gutter.
- Then, a “buncher” truck equipped with a combination broom/plow pushes the debris into piles.
- The piles of debris are picked up by the loader crew and hauled to a transfer site in the city. From there, the material is transported by contractors for eventual composting and resale.
- Once all that is done, street sweepers make a cleaning pass to sweep up all remaining material, which is mostly ground-up leaves. In some cases, a second flushing pass is made to get the street squeaky clean.
Street sweeping does more than keep neighborhoods clean and livable: it protects our environment by reducing the amount of leaves and debris that wash down storm drains into our lakes and waterways. When plant material goes down a storm drain, it flows directly into our lakes and river where it decomposes and encourages the growth of harmful aquatic plants and algae.
Streets must be clear of cars to ensure streets can be swept well. Residents must comply with posted parking signs or their cars may be ticketed and towed. The City makes it easy for residents learn when their street is scheduled for sweeping. Among the tools the City employs:
- No Parking signs are posted at least 24 hours before sweeping.
- Automated phone calls are made each evening to let residents know their street will be swept the next day.
- The Street Sweeping Schedule Lookup, an interactive web feature, allows folks to find out when the sweepers are coming through their neighborhoods. The tool is located at www.minneapolismn.gov/streetsweep.
- Facebook and Twitter provides social media users with periodic street sweeping updates and information. To become a fan of the City of Minneapolis Facebook page, go to www.facebook.com/cityofminneapolis. To follow the City’s Twitter account, go to www.twitter.com/CityMinneapolis.
- Videos explain street sweeping in English, Hmong, Somali and Spanish as part of the City’s “Did you know...” series. These short videos can be viewed at www.YouTube.com/cityofminneapolis and on City cable channels 14 and 79.
Published Oct. 24, 2012