Here in the Peoples’ Republic of Cambridge, they clean the streets once a month. At least they do during the non-winter months. At least I think they do because there are signs up warning you not to park on certain special days. I’ve never seen them do it, but I put some trust into the city’s stewardship of my tax dollars and their public ways. Read all about it here. I live in district E if you’re keeping score.
But I come to tweak Cambridge, not to praise her. Here’s what’s bugging me. The parking ban for street cleaning is from 8am to 2pm. Starting around 6:30 or 7am, the city sends trucks up and down the streets with loudspeakers announcing, “Street Cleaning! No parking on the [even/odd] side of the street. Cars will be tagged and towed. Street Cleaning!…” over and over again.
I’m reasonably sure that if I drove around at 7am loudly announcing something, I would be gagged and possibly towed. Why should the city wake up or annoy everybody to warn some segment of the population about an event that’s clearly posted on plain-English metal signs all over town?
Let’s break this down:
- some people don’t have cars, so they don’t care
- some people with cars park them in driveways or garages or parking lots, so they don’t care
- some people with cars leave for work well before 8, so they don’t care
- some people with cars are parked on the non-cleaning side of the street, so they don’t care
- some people with cars are parked on the cleaning side of the street and they know it, so they don’t need to be reminded, so they don’t care
- some people with cars parked on the cleaning side of the street had forgotten or don’t know, so they are grateful
- some people don’t even know if they’re parked on the odd or even side, so they’re just confused
So the city is spending my money to drive trucks (not cars, trucks) slowly around town, burning diesel, employing drivers, and waking up or annoying all kinds of people, just to remind a small group to avoid a ticket. What’s up with that?
Why doesn’t the city drive around to remind us or more pressing or important things? “Overdue library books are charged at 25 cents a day!” “Don’t forget to tell your kids you love them!” “Possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute is a felony!”
There must be a better way to clear the streets for cleaning.