As Alternate Side Parking Returns, Doctor Urges Street-Sweeper Appreciation

After the longest suspension of alternate-side parking regulations in memory, the city reopened the street to street-sweepers this week, and some residents were feeling appreciative.

In particular, the street sweepers will finally disrupt the habitat of the rats that have embedded themselves in the neighborhood’s gutters and other cozy rat spots. Dr. Emily Hahn said she was feeling thankful while waiting in her car for 90 minutes on Tuesday morning:

“Can we have a street sweeper appreciation article? The gutters have been disgusting and the rats have been enjoying it…” she added.

Others also appreciated the street-sweeping, even if it meant sitting in their cars for a while. One brought a child to do remote learning as they waited.

NEWS | 39 comments | permalink
    1. lizzie says:

      What the ASP suspension revealed is that for many residential streets on the UWS, twice-a-week-per-side cleaning is overkill. The streets just didn’t get that dirty. Since NYC will be in for some critical budget shortfalls, wouldn’t it make sense to reduce street cleaning where possible?

      On my block, no cars were even ticketed. And by the time the sweeper came through, all the cars had moved back, so it was unable to clean anyway. The cops should proceed just ahead of the sweepers, otherwise the whole thing is a joke.

      • EricaC says:

        I don’t think you can conclude that twice a week is overkill based in a period when so many people are away. You may be right, of course, but I don’t think the data are there.

    2. Lady Di says:

      Absolutely – the street sweepers and the folks on the trucks are just as much heroes right now as other “frontline workers”; the streets in my neighborhood in the west Bronx have always been disgusting because residents are under the impression that their garbage thrown on the ground magically disappears. Now with the pandemic, the streets are even worse with discarded gloves, masks, etc.If you appreciate the Sanitation Dept folks, post something nice on their facebook page and thank them when you see them in person.

    3. luke says:

      2 days in practically no one moveD their cars from either side btwn col & amst 89 st..I didnt see any if at all tix.

    4. JRUWS says:

      Imagine how easy it would be to clean the streets if cars weren’t allow to park there in the first place?

      • Nevets K says:

        Imagine how clean the sidewalks would be without any dogs!
        Dogs are for “the personal and private use” of dog owners!
        And the way they take up “valuable public space” when they are walked – often five or six dogs at a time -frequently blocking the entire sidewalk!
        Sorry, “Transportion Alternatives” guy. When you or other members of anti-community groups, such as TA, take a swipe at UWS street parkers, you’re going to get this back at you: A cruel and absurd suggestion that highlights the cruelty and absurdity of yours.

        People need their cars to drive to jobs that are out of town and which are not served by public transportation.
        I teach at a high school twenty miles upstate. Public transport would take me two and a half hours each way.
        I cannot afford the $9600 a year that a private garage would cost me. Now that is a FACT.
        Please share your own work situation — if you are willing.
        And, by the way, if you live and work in Manhattan, which would be fortunate for you, I imagine
        there is already an existing bus and/or subway route that parallels whatever “electric bike lane” you choose to take.

        Every time

        • C says:

          Well done! Agree.

        • Clean Sidewalks says:


        • lynn says:

          Seriously, why do you always bring up dogs when you’re trying to make a point about any other subject? They’re not taking up any more space than other pedestrians, strollers, kids on scooters, etc. Dogs, even in packs, are living feeling creatures that are capable of moving out of your way. They’re not going to stand their like rocks so you can trip over them. I only have one dog but I will never understand why this is an ISSUE for anyone. Especially now!

          • Jay says:

            Free parking lovers love to distract people from the real issues.

            • Nevets K says:

              What is your actual work situation?
              I told you mine.
              Please share something real and genuine about your work situation, or I will have to assume you have a hidden agenda, and that you are possibly being paid for your comments by “Transportation Alternatives” or by another anti-community group.
              You know what my “real issue” is. I told you exactly.

          • JP says:

            If you read carefully, the analogy to dogs was pointed out to be absurd on purpose.

            ” A cruel and absurd suggestion that highlights the cruelty and absurdity of yours.”

        • CJ says:

          Hey! Nevet K – yikes already with the dogs complex. We get it. You love your car, you need your car, you can’t live without your car, and you want to park it for free on the street.

          The default deflection to dogs is like saying – ‘but but but he wore a khaki suit!’ Um, okay?

          I thought this article was about thanking workers for cleaning our streets?

          • Nevets K says:

            So thank them!

            And, by the way, CJ, about this “parking for free” – another Transportation Alternatives propaganda term – I have this to say (and I imagine it will not be what you expect me to say. Moreover, I have said it before in this journal):
            I would be willing to pay a few hundred dollars a month for a residential permit which gave me the right to hunt for a parking spot with, hopefully, a little less competition when I get home from work in the early evening.
            I would be even more willing to pay for this permit were the money earmarked for the improvement of public transportation, which you, I, and almost everyone in NYC uses. But I would be less willing to pay for such a permit were the funds to go to the construction of more “electric bike lanes” that run along existing bus and subway lines.
            You TA guys seem to want me to give up my livelihood so you can have an easier pedal to work!
            As I said in my original comment, your suggestions are “cruel and absurd”!

        • jp says:

          Thank you! Some of us do not have a means to our jobs without our cars. I do NOT use my car for anything but to get to/from work so I am not causing unnecessary congestion. I leave at 6:30 am and come home at 5p. I do not clog up the curbs during the day. I would not be able to work (which would be really unfortunate during a time when so many others are unemployed due to a real reason such as a pandemic!) without a car. I pay taxes to 2 states and this city to keep my job. Do not suggest another job or moving as neither is an option.

        • Josh P. says:

          Hey there, I don’t mean this dismissively, but I am curious – why live on the UWS when it seems like it would be more convenient for you to live closer to your job or somewhere where it was cheaper and easier to park? I am trying to understand.

          • Paul says:

            Josh P., Isn’t it obvious that people who reverse commute often have spouses who work in the City?
            I used to work on Long Island, and knew several UWS residents who reverse commuted while their spouses worked here.
            Regardless, it’s not your business to judge the choices of others.

          • Nevets K says:

            Hello, Josh,
            Thank you for your question. I think it is a reasonable question to ask. I strongly believe in people revealing something about their actual lived lives when discussing these “space and use issues” on the UWS, so we can be a little more certain there are no hidden agendas. It may not surprise you then, that, despite my requests, not one “Transportation Alternatives advocate,” or any other member of a similar anti-community group, has ever revealed his or her work situation. Seems rather relevant to the debate, I think!
            As to the answer: My children have their friends and their schools here. My wife works in Manhattan. “Man does not live by job alone.” And for reasons which I continue to plumb every day, “I happen to like New York!”
            Please stay well, and all the best!

            • Josh P. says:

              Thank you Nevets!
              I am one of those Transportation Alternatives advocates. When we aren’t under quarantine, I work in Midtown and bike or take the subway to 59th St.
              My girlfriend is a doctor on the east side and used to take the bus or a cab to work. Since the onset of COVID-19, she feels less safe doing that (for herself and for the driver’s safety), she has started using Citibike to commute cross town. There are no cross town protected bike lanes and she does not feel particularly safe. A river to river bike lane would be a huge help for her and others like her!
              But there is no room for a lane without disrupting some parking. I have always thought that taking one lane of parking every 10 blocks or so and using it for biking, while keeping the rest, would be a smarter allocation of public space.

            • Jay says:

              I answered your irrelevant question. Unfortunately, the moderators decided to censor the answer.

              Note: Just because someone thinks the public shouldn’t subsidize your private parking doesn’t make them a member of whatever group you are going on about.

          • Nevets K says:

            Hello, Josh,
            Thank you for your response.
            And I agree with you.
            A crosstown protected bike land every ten blocks (or so!)
            seems a reasonable and sane idea.
            The loss of street parking under your suggestion is well worth it for the greater good.
            It is not proposals like yours that make me bridle.
            It is the relentless propagandist tone of many TA members, who dismiss me as not being a member of the public or who continually decry “free” or “subsidized” parking, which are nonsense terms. Worse, they seem hell bent on ridding Manhattan of cars – which directly impacts the livelihoods of many of our residents. Their spirit is just the opposite of what they claim. They are extremists and “disrupters” and against the UWS community as a whole. And I believe many of them project whatever negative feelings they may have about life onto “parked cars.” (But that’s between them and their therapists!)
            But I’ll go you one better on your idea:
            Why not ban cars entirely on those crosstown streets? That would make riding a lot safer for vulnerable bike riders.
            (Of course, the pedal bike riders will immediately face competition from electric bike riders, many of whom
            will be racing to make deliveries and so on – but that’s another discussion for another day!)
            All the best to you and yours!

      • EricaC says:

        If you got rid of children, it would be cleaner too. And people who throw their trash. Smokers should go too. And anyone who eats along the way and spills. Restaurants also make things dirty – ditch them too!

    5. UWS car owner says:

      I move my car twice a week as required and there is a street sweeper 10% of the time. This citywide clean sweep after such a long suspension is no exception. I sat there today for 90 minutes and never saw a sweeper or heard one nearby. Another broken system. #cuethehaters

    6. uws guy says:

      I’m buying my first car in NYC this weekend but only to use to look at houses to buy in the suburbs and move out of here. UWS was great but I think COVID has brought out the worst in the long time residents. Don’t worry this “renter” will be gone soon enough. Paying crazy high rent to WFH in a small apt with my wife, next to a bunch of closed or vacant stores. No thanks.

      But I will be street parking with you guys for a few weeks… can’t wait… NOT!

      • UWS_lifer says:

        Have fun at the Olive Garden and the Cheesecake Factory. (just kidding)

        I guess you weren’t really an UWS Guy after all. It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure. But for most of us, we don’t just want to live here, we NEED it.

        I plan on dying on the UWS and having my ashes dumped into the Hudson River or maybe the 91st Street Garden in RSP:)

        • uws guy says:

          Yeah I’m pretty burned out on bagels and hamentashen. A Taco Bell drive-thru is sounding so amazing right now!!

    7. SteveH2305 says:

      Today, I sat in my car and saw the Street Sweeper but it only did half of the one side of the street. THE STREETS WERE NOT THAT DIRTY anyway after many weeks.

      Suggestion, reduce to once a week and put some trash cans back that were removed.

    8. Amelia Weiss says:

      It would be great to organize a morning applause day for the amazing DSNY. Which handles all the stuff we dont want to touch every day. Often they come early in the morning. The times are not the same. And they don’t come every day to every block. So Im not sure how we could surprise them with this. All suggestions welcome. Is anyone else interested?

      • Boris says:

        Not interested at all. If you were aware of their generous salaries and benefits, you probably wouldn’t adore them so much. I don’t understand the need to keep making new ‘heroes’ out of ordinary workers. They might be essential but certainly not equivalent to frontline workers.

        • EricaC says:

          How much more frontline do you get?

          I don’t begrudge them their salary and benefits. I don’t want to do that job and would have to be paid a lot to do it.

    9. Karen E Warner says:

      What happened with not issuing tickets for not moving vehicles?

      • SB says:

        Are you serious? With so many people home and out of work, you appear to be intrigued that folks should have received tickets for not moving their vehicles.

        • Boris says:

          If they’re home, how difficult is it to move their car for 90 minutes so the streets can be cleaned? One parked car prevents the sweeper from cleaning close to three parking spots. They deserve a fine if they don’t comply.

    10. Kenneth says:

      My observation – for some strange reason, the sweepers seem to come by the e/w streets only during the last 10 minutes of alternate side – by which time no one will move anymore – and since the guys writing tickets seem to descend on the block 1 minute after alternate side starts and then are gone, there is little chance of a summons at this point. A favorite trick on my block is the drivers exit their parked car when the sweeper approaches so there is no amount of sweeeper driver
      persuasion that can make the car move. Also, since special street parking areas (teachers for example on school blocks) are always in the same spot,
      instead of rotating sides, many sections of street never get cleaned. It’s a broken system.

    11. s says:

      almost 1/2 of UWS disembarked for their 2nd homes when pandemic hit hard so this is not the time to be judging the need for street sweeping.

      all sorts of critters burrow in if not for sweeper trucks

      If anything an added sweep using a disinfecting cleanser would be appropriate.

      We dont want the smelly city of the 70’s to return

    12. Ryan Brisbane says:

      I am a sweeper operator an I’d like to thank you for your article as a sweeper I don’t think the public no we are just as important as the garbage man is it because are work is at night mostly now I hope people can recognize the importance of our job just as much as a front liner is say are job is very important at most not the most pleasent at times kinda gross but yet it’s my job so thank you for the reconciliation if there could be that day on the calendar for that day of reconciliation that would be a day lol so if more people could no us an garbage men both have a job just as much as the one cursing us as they pass us people ought to take a moment an not be in such a hurry as you did thank u

      • JVH says:

        Bravo to you and other NYC municipal services workers–trash collection, water supply and swage treatment, especially. Can you WFH people imagine what we/you would do without those smoothly functioning services?! I think about them every time I run some clean water or flush the toilet, let alone take trash and recycling down to the basement. And that prompts thanks to our stalwart building services workers too.

    13. Mike says:

      Sorry, I just don’t see it. Honestly, I think we’d be fine with monthly street cleanings. Especially in a city/state that’s suddenly in economic crisis. But I’m sure that won’t happen. Bc we’ve always been doing it.