Streets, sidewalks ace litter test; private property slips

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Streets and sidewalks in The City were cleaner in the latter half of 2009, but private property owners were more likely to have graffiti on their property than ever before, according to a city audit.

Street-litter ratings improved between June and December, and now meet The City’s “cleanliness standard.” Sidewalk-litter ratings also improved, and the cleanliness of trash receptacles, trees and landscaping was the highest it’s been since The City started studying litter in 2006.

During the same period, the amount of illegally dumped trash, needles, broken glass, feces and condoms also improved.

The improvements come even after mechanical street sweeping was cut back in August from weekly to every two weeks in more than 20 neighborhoods to save $1 million a year.

But the audit doesn’t paint as bright a picture for private property, which includes newspaper stands and storefronts. Incidents of graffiti on private property are the highest among all types of graffiti, and are the highest they have been since 2006.

“Much less graffiti is found on residential routes compared to commercial routes over the past 10 fiscal quarters,” the report from the city services auditor said. “Non-DPW public graffiti was frequently found on parking meters and signs. Private graffiti was frequently found on newspaper racks, store fronts and awnings.”

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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