Starting in September, many residents of The City will be able to ease the weekly ritual of shuffling their cars back and forth across the street to avoid street sweepers.
In a cost-saving measure, the Department of Public Works plans to cut street sweeping from once a week to twice each month in many neighborhoods. The change will affect about 8,500 city blocks but should save the department about $1 million from its $12 million annual street cleaning budget, DPW chief Edward Reiskin said.
The City’s most-littered streets — dense residential neighborhoods and commercial areas, as well as alleys and primary arteries through neighborhoods — will not see a change in their street-sweeping patterns, he said.
It is unclear, however, how the adjustment will affect the coffers of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which collects about $18 million per year by doling out thousands of tickets each week to cars that are blocking street sweepers. The SFMTA recently increased the price of parking tickets to bolster its budget.
SFMTA spokesman Judson True said the agency will redeploy parking-control officers who are no longer needed on the street-sweeping routes elsewhere in The City, “such as abandoned-auto enforcement and Muni delay reduction.”
“There’s more work than there are parking-enforcement officers at this point,” he said.
DPW will begin adjusting street signs in the Marina at the end of August and work its way through The City, with neighborhoods such as the Sunset and Noe Valley making the final transition in December.
The decision to cut back on street sweeping was made after surveys by both Public Works and the Controller’s Office indicated that most city streets in residential neighborhoods do not need to be swept each week to stay reasonably clean, upholding the standards of the Clean Water Act. Reiskin said a survey of 19 cities showed that San Francisco is just one of two cities that sweep residential streets weekly, while all others sweep less frequently.
He said the agency expects a mixed reaction to the change, and anticipates some neighborhoods will complain that their service is getting cut.
But the change received a thumbs-up from Marina resident Braeden Mass, 31, who said he religiously moves his car across the street each week to avoid parking tickets but has nonetheless managed to amass about 20 since he moved to San Francisco 12 years ago.
Mass said he didn’t think the change would result in significantly dirtier streets.
The following neighborhoods will see street sweeping drop from once a week to twice a month in this order: Richmond, Inner Richmond, Japantown, Sea Cliff, Marina, Cow Hollow, Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, West Portal, St. Francis Wood, Westwood Park, Forest Hill, Parkside, Ingleside, Ingleside Terrace, Lakeside, Laurel Heights, Sunset, Inner Sunset, Parkside, Glen Park, Diamond Heights, Noe Valley