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Citizens Against Litter

May 2006 Newslitter

In this Newslitter: Shady side of the street; Mr. Litterman's Neighborhood helpers; UPMC under the microscope; Gitty up Billy Goat; Do as he does; Garbage in; garbage out; Garbagevilles; Paintville; "I Litter" awards; Who are litter illiterates?; Public Works contact; Retire tires; Shopping carts lost & found; Ask Mr. Litterman

Shady side of the street

We're doing a lot that's right in Shadyside besides providing great shopping, popular restaurants and bars, art shows, other neat street events and the best people watching. All on clean, litter-free streets. Our example is catching on.

Our volunteer anti-litter program, one year old this month, is the model for other programs. A similar program in Squirrel Hill had its formal "cleansweep kickoff" with Mayor O'Connor and Congressman Mike Doyle in attendance April 3. The following day in Brookline, Boris Weinstein met with concerned citizens, detailing the Shadyside program to them. Next on the neighborhood tour, Boris met with an interested citizens group in Regent Square on May 1. The Shadyside story has also been told in Mount Washington, South Side Slopes, Central North Side, South Side and Hazelwood.

Mr. Litterman's Neighborhood helpers

Who's keeping the Shadyside neighborhood clean? More than 60 anti-litter volunteers, business owners and many other residents. These are people who believe that those who care must pick up for those who don't care and litter. Shadyside is cleaner because of their efforts and the example they set on a regular basis not just once or twice a year.

UPMC under the microscope

There are times Centre Avenue shows its litter side and it's not very pretty. But on this particular day -- Tuesday, April 18 -- a volunteer was very impressed with what he didn't see. There was litter-ally no litter. Clean, clean, clean from Centre and Aiken to the Food Mart on the other side of the Centre Avenue Bridge. In fact, except for one building -- Ace Bindery/Reed & Witting, which is always litter full -- Centre Avenue was perfect.

During the volunteer's walk along Centre, he saw two employees with brooms and dustpans. One was redding up around the Marriott Courtyard and Starbucks. The other was redding up around the Hillman Cancer Center on both sides of the street. That employee would have earned an A+ if he would have redd up over a sewer grate and if he would have moved six feet onto the bridge and cleared some litter there. No big deal as they say.

On April 18, the grade was a Big Fat A for the entire strip. Gold stars for Marriott Courtyard, Starbucks, Shadyside Hospital, Family House, UPMC Family Health Center, Hillman Center, Food Mart, Wagner Agency and P&W Saab.

Sidewalks, gutters, grassy places, shrubbery clusters, two bus shelters and two surface parking lots. Clean. Everything 100%. The street would have been 110% if three Giant Eagle shopping carts would have been removed from the entrance to the Coronado Apartments. It would also help if there were a trash container on the Arlington Apartments corner.

Citizen Against Litter volunteers picking up regularly in this zone are Jake Krohn and Carl DiFeo. Incidentally, both Jake and Carl live elsewhere but help keep Shadyside clean. Hats off to them and the maintenance people from the Centre Avenue institutions and businesses. And hats off to the hundreds of employees in that area and the visitors who obviously are doing their part as well.

Gitty up Billy Goat

The Billy Goat vacuum cleaner is back cleaning sidewalks and gutters along Walnut Street. Billy Goat also does its thing on side streets north to Comet Way (Dumpster Alley) and south to the off street parking lots. A volunteer watched Billy Goat and its operator in action. "Billy" works. The operator is very thorough, using his hand broom to sweep away cigarette buts and the built in dirt from the thin runners between the sidewalk cement sections as well as litter that hugs the curbs. The plan for "Billy," donated to the Walnut Street Merchants Association, will be to clean Walnut Street once a week throughout the spring, summer and fall.

Do as he does

Richard Rattner, owner of the William Penn Tavern, is president of the Chamber of Commerce. He sets a great example for all merchants in Shadyside and everywhere. Why? Most mornings he is keeping his property free of litter. You can see him, with broom and dustpan, cleaning the sidewalk and gutter in the front of his business, on the side adjacent to the off street parking lot and in the alley behind his outdoor patio and around large waste containers. Wouldn't it be great if all merchants were this committed regularly?

Garbage in; garbage out

For once-a-week volunteer picker uppers, you might want to consider this strategy. Do your picking up on the day garbagemen come through your zone. Sometimes the mess they leave behind is worse than before they came. This is not a new problem. It's a recurring problem. In all fairness, though, it's not always the garbagemen's fault. Many people deposit garbage, pieces of paper, duplicate bills, and just stuff loose rather than in bags before putting those things in garbage cans for collection. The results are obvious. Garbagemen empty the cans. And there's the problem. Garbage in; garbage out. Or people put their garbage cans curbside without lids. On occasion, it becomes a windfall. Garbage in; garbage away.

Garbageville

There are many private homes, rentals and apartment buildings that qualify as "garbagevilles" because of litter around their property and garbage cans "litter-ally" in their front yards. Here are some of them:

Paintville

Four paint cans were at curbside in front of 5232 Westminster Place for days. Time's up. Time the homeowner realizes they're not going away that way.

"I Litter" awards

Now that spring has sprung our streets are alive...with advertising flier litter. Here are some of the offenders. The list is small. Let's keep it that way.

Who are litter illiterates?

People who don't have a clue about what to do with stuff in their hands or are too lazy to hold onto it until they locate a trash container to put it in.

People who clean out their cars of cigarette butts, coffee cups, fast food wrappers and trash by dumping the stuff onto streets and into gutters.

People who are "trash can blind" and don't see what's right in front of them.

People who "just feel like" doing what they shouldn't be doing.

People who haven't been taught or practice their "don"t litter" ABCs at home.

Public Works contact

There are six Public Works divisions in the city. The Second Division is responsible for Shadyside. Anthony Givner is the Foreman. Should you need to contact Public Works for information or to respond to a problem Tony's phone number is 412-665-3609/3610.

Retire tires

Here's a contact for people who want to know whom to report complaints about tire litter. Direct your complaint to Sandy Anderson, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The phone number is 412-442-4184. She can help.

Shopping carts lost and found

There's a service that will collect and take kidnapped shopping carts off the street. The service is very responsive. The phone number is 412-963-2380. That's how to get rid of largest litter on our streets.

Ask Mr. Litterman

Q: I rarely see people picking up litter. Is there a special way it's done and is that why people don't do it?
A: No, dear reader. It's not difficult to pick up litter. Here are the ABCs of it. A) Look down as you walk. B) Bend down. When you bend, lower yourself carefully and watch your back. C) Pick up the stuff. If there's a trash can nearby use it. If not hold onto the stuff until you spot a container to use.

Q: I saw this sign in a store window. What's a "Liter Sale"?
A: I was confused at first. I'm picking up litter on Aiken Avenue Next thing I know I see the Wag Barkery and, at the same time, I see the liter sale sign in the window. It turns out the sign was not in the Wag store window but in the Lewis Beauty Salon window next door. I was sure liter was misspelled. Wag was either selling a litter of newborn puppies or, just maybe, they were selling real special trash. Wrong, of course. The beauty store sign was correct. They were selling hair care products by the liter. Hey, I wasn't the only one who was confused, a beautician told me. I have litter on my mind.

Recent Litter-ature

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


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