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Citizens Against Litter

October 2005 Newslitter

In this Newslitter: Shadyside's annual house tour; Give Shadyside an "A"; Out of sight and out of mind; Area updates; Mellon Park revisited; Litter in Parking Authority surface lots; Your Lit Parade; "I Litter" awards; Suggestion for Shadyside Village; Beer Garden re-opened; then closed; A day in the life of a litter volunteer -- Day 1; A day in the life of a litter volunteer -- Day 2; Atta boys; Ask Mr. Litterman; Counting litter; Traveling Show

Shadyside's annual house tour

Sunday, October 2 is the date. Company's coming to Shadyside. If volunteers get this Newslitter before Sunday, please do an extra sweep in your zone. Our visitors will see a cleaner Shadyside this year. A great house tour deserves clean streets, pavements, gutters and grassy places.

Give Shadyside an "A"

We shouldn't be surprised. Shadyside is looking pretty clean these days. A volunteer rode around the neighborhood on September 21, evaluating clean up progress. There were less "Garbagevilles," cleaned-up previous "Garbagevilles," and improved "Garbagevilles." There is definitely less litter and what litter there is is the fresh kind, not the stuff that's been caked on the streets for a long time. All we can do is control litter and that appears to be happening thanks to a combination of Citizen Against Litter volunteers and dozens of other residents who do their own thing. Thanks go out also to the City Environmental Services code enforcement crews who have responded to calls about troublesome places.

Specifically, three apartment buildings on Holden (5729, 5733, and 5737) are not "Garbagevilles" this month. However, the apartment building at 5747 Holden is still a "Garbageville." But look at other progress:

Still on the "Garbageville" list:

New "Garbagevilles"

Out of sight and out of mind

Open note to Walnut Street merchants: The alley behind the stores on one side of your great street (beginning at Village Pizza) is a "Garbageville" and you know what that is. Garbage and litter around most of the dumpsters are close to being out of control. Certainly the dumpster areas are not getting attention. You've come too far to make Walnut Street cleaner and more appealing than to neglect your backside.

Area updates

Ellsworth Avenue (Spahr to Emerson) #1

This stretch finally got some attention from volunteers at the end of August and it's looking good.

Ellsworth Avenue #2

We made a walking inspection of Ellsworth Avenue from Summerlea to College on September 22. Summerlea, Maryland, Holden, Alder, and College are very difficult to keep litter-free and under control. But, many merchants along Ellsworth Avenue are trying their best and making progress. When we inspected Ellsworth Avenue it was practically free of litter. One merchant told us Councilman Bill Peduto arranged for new trash containers for the business district.

Alder and Emerson (Intersection and nearby streets to watch)

There's nothing there that a good litter pickup sweep won't cure. OK. OK. We got it. Volunteers cleaned this area on September 22. We'll keep watching.

Mellon Park revisited

Wow! On September 21, the park was clean as a whistle in spite of heavy usage. The picnic shelter was full of people. There wasn't an empty space to park. Courts and playground were being used. And there was no litter and no overflow garbage.

Litter in Parking Authority surface lots

The newly installed Pittsburgh Parking Authority machines for the four surface lots behind Walnut Street are contributing to daily litter. Motorists use the machines when they park. These machines have replaced the individual parking meters. Motorists are issued paper tickets to display on their dashboards, indicating that cars are parked correctly. When motorists leave, many of the paper tickets end up on the ground. It's a new litter problem in Shadyside's business district that may not go away. Controlling this litter becomes the challenge.

Your Lit Parade

Ever wonder where all the litter comes from, even though there's less of it around these days? This is unscientific but after observing and picking up litter in the Walnut Street area for more than six months these findings are pretty good estimates. The following pecking order debunks one of the theories that drive by motorists are most responsible for litter when they toss bottles, cans and bags of food out windows and onto streets. Not true. Businesses and nonprofits, distributing their ad fliers in doorways, on car windshields and other pass-out places, lead The Lit Parade. They have no equal in the Walnut Street area. For example, on September 19, walking to Walnut Street on Copeland Street a volunteer picked up 21 pieces of litter. Seventeen of them were fliers advertising Red Hot Entertainment. Advertising fliers were scattered over two blocks. Here is The Lit Parade pecking order (cigarette butts are not included).

"I Litter" awards

Among September's most litter-causing businesses and nonprofits with their advertising fliers are:

Suggestion for Shadyside Village

The storefronts and parking lot at Shadyside Village on Aiken Avenue are well maintained. Employees of the Village clean the area regularly. However, the inside of the brick maintenance building and the adjacent stairway to the lower level of the property are litter collection places and should be cleaned up.

Beer Garden re-opened; then closed

It was probably too much to hope for. The house with the infamous beer garden at 5804 Walnut Street re-opened earlier in the month. A volunteer was in the neighborhood and peeked in on the place. The house still looks great on the outside but there they were-seven empty cans of beer on the porch wall, on the front lawn, steps and pavement. When we checked again on September 22, things had improved. The "Garden" was dry.

A day in the life of a litter volunteer -- Day 1

Sunday, September 3. 8:45 am, Labor Day weekend. Decide to go for a litter walk and enjoy the great weather. Down Negley to Centre to Oxford Commons. Pick up litter there from the gutter, pavement, grass and shrubs. Where to dispose of the bag of Oxford Commons litter? In the Oxford Commons dumpster, of course. While there, the volunteer also picks up litter in the Oxford parking lot. Mistake. Approached by the building security guard. With a picker upper in one hand and a bag of litter in the other, the volunteered is challenged. The guard wants to know who he is and what he's doing. It's obvious the volunteer has erred. He should have taken the Oxford Commons litter and dumped it in the Giant Eagle dumpster a block away. That makes more sense. Or does it?

A day in the life of a litter volunteer -- Day 2

This is about a drive by motorist (the good kind) who picks up, not throws down. On the way to a gas station recently, a volunteer saw a mess of litter on both Morewood Avenue and Wallingford. He filled his tank first (priorities) and then returned to the litter site, parking the car and pulling shopping bags from the trunk. (Yes, an anti-litter volunteer always has shopping bags in his car trunk.) The volunteer collected two bags of litter, deposited them in a nearby dumpster and was on his way. A 15-minute detour. Doesn't everybody do this?

Atta boys

Apparently the Shadydside Chamber of Commerce had to fill some space on its newly designed web site, so it featured a photo of volunteer Boris Weinstein and some very nice comments about Citizens Against Litter working to keep the neighborhood litter-free and glitter-looking.

It's not every day litter removal efforts get noticed. On September 20, City Councilman Bill Peduto dusted off a Proclamation for Shadyside volunteer Weinstein and Citizens Against Litter to show the City's appreciation for launching a neighborhood program to make Shadyside cleaner and sharing ideas with concerned citizens in other neighborhoods.

Ask Mr. Litterman

Q: I understand you had some things to say at the City Council meeting.
A: I repeated what I've been saying all along. If we are going to be a cleaner city, people who care must clean up for people who don't care. I also recited two definitions with three negative thoughts and one positive. There are two kinds of litterers. Active litterers who throw things from cars and drop things on streets, gutters, pavements and grassy places. Negative. Passive litters are just as bad. They leave their homes everyday, see litter around them, and don't pick up. Negative. There are two kinds of anti-litterers. Active litterers -- and there are hundreds of us -- who bend and pick up litter. Positive. Passive anti-litterers are not helping the cause. They talk, talk, talk but don't pick up litter. Negative.

Q: Why is it we clean up and litter's back again?
A: Why are our streets any different than our cars or our houses? We make a mess and we clean up. We make another mess and we clean up again. Streets are the same. The very best we can hope for is that all of us do better about creating litter and that bad attitudes and habits about making a mess on public places will improve eventually. In the meantime and if we want cleaner surroundings at home, at work and where we play, we have to pick up more than our share and keep ahead of litter. When we can count the number of pieces we pick up, we know we are controlling litter.

Counting litter

How's this for controlling litter. A volunteer picked up 21 pieces of litter the other day. Sounds like a lot of litter? That's 21 pieces on five streets -- St. James, Pembroke, Amberson, Castleman, and Westminster. Add to this, 11 pieces of litter picked up on Aiken Avenue from Walnut to Ellsworth. Average is 5 pieces of litter per street.

Traveling Show

Shadyside's efforts against litter must be working. Concerned citizens in other neighborhoods want to hear what's happening in Shadyside. "SHADYSIDE LITTER-ACY" has been re-told in Mount Washington, South Side, South Side Slopes, Mexican War Streets and soon in Hazelwood, Squirrel Hill and Homewood.

Litter is turning to glitter!

Recent Litter-ature

A complete list of past Litterature is available in our archives.

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