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Citizens Against Litter

June 2006 Newslitter

In this Newslitter: Keeping Walnut Street clean; Keeping Ellsworth, S. Highland & Centre clean; Disappearing acts; "In my opinion"; Thanks Pittsburgh Magazine; More Citizens Against Litter; Speaking of Brookline; And Wilkinsburg; Kudos; Take the Fifth; Messes around; Garbagevilles; "I Litter" awards; Great alleys; Alley oops; Scout's honor; Ask Mr. Litterman

Keeping Walnut Street clean

Councilman Bill Peduto and the Department of Public Works nipped a litter problem in the bud. There are plenty of trash containers on Walnut Street and people are using them. But on weekends containers were overflowing and dumping litter on sidewalks, curbsides and streets. We were looking for a remedy. On Mother's Day weekend, though, Public Works added a second waste container pickup and the overflow problem appears to be history.

Also, in an effort to clean up and maintain cleanliness in Comet Way, the "Garbageville" alley behind Walnut Street restaurants and stores, a special team of merchants says it will deal with litter there on an on-going basis. This, too, is a remedy. Time will tell.

Keeping Ellsworth, South Highland & Centre clean

Check out the other business districts in Shadyside. The entire stretch of Ellsworth Avenue: CLEAN. South Highland Avenue from Centre to Elmer: CLEAN. Centre Avenue from Aiken to Negley: CLEAN. Thanks to the merchants, the public and the anti-litter volunteers.

Disappearing acts

Expect the waste dumpster that has been on the street near the corner of Summerlea and Holden for years to be removed. The same goes for that home-fashioned "no-parking" barrel and stick/sign that's been on the street on Clyde Street forever. People have been using it to dump stuff. It collects litter; it's a health hazard, an obstruction and illegal.

"In my opinion"

In his Post-Gazette op-ed article in May, Boris Weinstein said he is urging the city to support three new initiatives:

  1. Work up costs, create makeover model programs and secure funding quickly to clean up blighted neighborhoods and keep them clean.
  2. Use the Shadyside Citizen Against Litter tried and true model to start volunteer groups in 10 neighborhoods over the next few months; more later.
  3. Adapt existing computer map programs to customize an on-going recruiting effort to sign up 1,500 volunteers for 89 city neighborhoods.

Thanks Pittsburgh Magazine

The photograph that accompanied the article about Boris Weinstein ("Pick of the Litter") in the May issue of Pittsburgh Magazine may spark sales of picker uppers. Citizens Against Litter received a lot of e-mails wanting information. It's called Nifty Nabber. Home Depot in East Liberty (and probably in its other stores) stocks it. Price is $20. The item does its name proud. It's nifty.

More Citizens Against Litter

We will not be surprised when Brookline and Regent Square start up their citizen groups to pick up litter on a year 'round basis. Residents attending meetings in their neighborhoods last month were told that citizen volunteer groups have it within their means to control the amount of litter on their streets. These neighborhoods are not blighted where Department of Public Works crews, PA CleanWays and special task groups need to clean up first.

Speaking of Brookline

"Our board is in strong agreement that litter and graffiti are things that directly impact impressions of a neighborhood and that we will address our efforts to combat them with renewed vigor," wrote Keith Knecht, a Brookline resident. "So at our next meeting I am going to present a plan based on our trouble spots and ask our members to actively speak with their friends and neighbors about helping form a Citizens Against Litter, Brookline."

"P.S. I've hit Trelona Way (the alley behind the Brookline Boulevard business district) twice since the Earth Day clean up. It's not perfect, but it sure looks better than it did."

And Wilkinsburg

The good word from our friends in Wilkinsburg is that they have already started a Citizens Against Litter group. There's a core of 10 volunteers and a call is going out for more.


Back to Shadyside. Hats off to the owners of the apartment building at 5507 Elmer Street. They replaced their lineup of plastic garbage containers with a good-sized dumpster. The unsightly garbage mess is gone. The place already looks better.

Kudos to the people living at 614 Bellefonte Street. They redded up the mini mess behind their house on Telegraph Way.

Kudos to the new owner of the house at 611 Aiken Avenue who redded up around his place, picking up litter and trimming shrubs.

Kudos to owners or renters across the street at 612, 614, and 618 Aiken Avenue who did the same to their houses and yards. They removed two years of leaves on the sidewalk and steps.

Kudos to the owners of the house at 636 Maryland Avenue at Alder Way. This house has been transformed from Garbageville to nice. The front yard seeded, shrubs trimmed, litter removed, outside brick painted, side garbage area cleaned up and garbage stacked orderly.

Kudos to Bovie Electric at 5704 Ellsworth Avenue All the activity at this address is in the rear on Alder Way. Enclosed parking area is being cleaned up, litter is being removed and flowers are being planted. Wow!

And kudos to the owner and merchants in the Panera/State Store shopping plaza on Centre Avenue. The plaza is clean especially around the waste dumpsters and the utility boxes in the rear of the plaza.

Take the Fifth

Fifth Avenue, the most traveled street in Shadyside, is clean as a whistle from Neville to Penn. Fifth Avenue is Shadyside for many drive-by motorists who never set foot on our streets. You may not know that 100 years ago our Fifth Avenue was called "Millionaire's Row" and Pittsburgh was considered "the wealthiest city in the world." New York's Fifth Avenue took a backseat to Shadyside's.

Messes around

Owners of the apartment building at 5433 Elmer Street have a garbage mess on their hands (and in our face). There are different kinds of messes. Major. Mini. Biggie. This one is a Biggie. A complaint was filed.

Shame on Rudy Molnar's Car Care garage on Baum Boulevard. There have been tires behind his shop for well over a year. A complaint was filed.


Credit an eight-year old North Side girl who described Pittsburgh a couple years ago as "Garbageville" when compared to five other cities she had visited. Most of our Shadyside neighborhood is cleaner but some places still resemble "Garbageville". Among those places are:

"I Litter" awards

This month's runaway winner of the "I Litter" award is Wheel Deliver. Usually the estimated percentage of advertising flier litter on Walnut Street and side streets is 30 percent. The percentage went to 50 percent in June. Singlehandedly, the Wheel Deliver promotion piece, as an insert in the CP paper, is responsible. Other litterers include:

Great alleys

These alleys, in Shadyside's heartland, passed the "alley-style white glove" test.

Alley oops

Scout's honor

Heard on Walnut Street: "When I was a Boy Scout, one of our mottos was, 'Leave a place cleaner than you found it.'" Good advice.

Ask Mr. Litterman

Q: "I saw your article in Pittsburgh Magazine, and I like the idea. I don't live in Shadyside but I think the same type of thing should be organized here in Regent Square. I guess it's as simple as defining specific zones and getting people committed to patrolling their zone regularly. How often do most people pick up trash in their zone?" (From Jared Delaney)
A: Squirrel Hill is also using the zone concept. Obviously the more volunteers mean more zone coverage. Our volunteers do as much as they can do. Some are out just once a week, which is fine. That's 50 times a year. Others pick up more frequently.

Q: Do you get action when you contact Public Works (Division 2) and Councilman Bill Peduto?
A: Absolutely. "Why?" you ask. Here's the approach I recommend:

Recent Litter-ature

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

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