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July 25 10:10 AM

City to purchase street sweepers

Illegal signs and litter control are also targeted

Shreveport streets and intersections will soon look cleaner once two new street sweepers come online this year, signaling the launch of a litter control and illegal sign program designed to improve the city’s cleanliness.

On Tuesday, the Shreveport City Council approved spending $600,000 to purchase two street sweepers to target debris on arterial streets, highway ramps, intersections and medians. The machines haven’t been regularly used in Shreveport for several years, allowing excessive litter to collect along the curb lines and untraveled portions of area streets.

To pay for the street sweepers, the Department of Public Works will transfer funds within its existing budget. A three-person crew, consisting of an operator and two support members, will be needed for each unit. The initial program does not include sweeping residential streets but will expand to those areas as additional funds are made available.

“The street sweepers are just the first step in our overall campaign to make our streets more appealing and to address the steady, and legitimate, complaints we receive from our citizens,” said Stan Harris, director of public works.

Another innovative element in Harris’ proposed program is the renewed effort to keep illegal signs from being placed in the right-of-way. Harris is studying a robo-call system to battle illegal signs. Some cities like Philadelphia, Pa., are going after businesses that scatter advertising in the public right-of-way by creating an automated phone system to fill their voice mails and disrupt their operations. Officials in Philadelphia report about a 66 percent reduction in illegal signs since the robo-calls began last year.

Two compliance officers will be hired to pursue those who violate city ordinances as they relate to the public right-of-way, with emphasis on illegal signs and violations associated with the new solid waste ordinance. Although city staff will be on the lookout for trouble spots, citizens are encouraged to call and report violations at specific locations.

The final aspect of the program is litter control, which primarily focuses on education and encourages the public not to litter. City work crews pick up trash prior to mowing public rights-ofway and will continue to also use community workers when available. The city has partnered with Shreveport Green to develop an education program to dissuade people from littering and encourage them to properly dispose of junk, trash and other debris.

Shreveport Green will also establish, institute and continue recognition programs for clean residential, commercial and industrial properties; reach out to neighborhoods to facilitate property maintenance efforts; work with other public and private groups to enlist their involvement in cleanup, beautification and recycling efforts; seek outside financial support to assist in meeting mutual goals of the city and Shreveport Green; and work with the city to publicize and familiarize citizens with the new solid waste changes.

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