Category Archives: Illegal Dumping

Logan Triangle Illegal Dumping Action Plan

Logan Triangle, like many areas in Philadelphia, suffers from excessive illegal dumping.

At the Logan Civic Association meeting on May 14th, local residents complained about this long term problem and asked for action.

Based on District 8 Trash Task Force meetings, personal investigations and Philadelphia’s Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet information, I have assembled the attached Logan Triangle Illegal Dumping Action Plan to help focus our efforts to tackling the Logan Triangle and wider dumping crisis.

Key points from this draft plan:

  1. Six Illegal Dumping Control Actions are available to communities and the City
    1. Encourage community Philly311 reporting
    2. Engage Area Block Captains (8 in Logan Triangle vicinity)
    3. Engage SWEEP officers to assess Logan Triangle situation & make recommendations
    4. Illegal Dumping, Truck Parking Signs
    5. Enhanced Barriers (specific recommendations for Logan Triangle provided)
    6. Surveillance Cameras ( 4 proposed for Logan Triangle)
  2. Logan Triangle has many specific dumping hot spots. 8 action areas have been identified to begin coordinated community – City efforts. Additional action areas will be added as we progress
  3. Specific action plans have been developed for each of the initial 8 action areas.
  4. There are 8 Block Captains in the Triangle vicinity. They could provide valuable insight and leadership to our efforts if the Streets Department can facilitate communication between these Block Captains and the District 8 Trash Task Force.
  5. SWEEP officers have extensive experience assessing trash sources and corrective actions which can help the community efforts. Can the Streets Department facilitate communication between SWEEP officers and the District 8 Trash Task Force?
  6. Streets placed dozens of concrete barriers around Logan Triangle to limit access to the open land. This report identifies several locations where dumpers are able to bypass the barriers to dump. Specific recommendations are included to move, realign and/or remove barriers by action area.
  7. Philly311 has accepted multi-block illegal dumping requests and currently is processing requests for 3 of the 8 action areas in Logan Triangle.
  8. 4 surveillance camera locations are recommended. Can Streets and Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority expedite camera deployment to these 4 Logan triangle locations?
Image

N 7th St ROW Trash Walk

Here’s a May 8, 2018 trash walk through the N 7th Street part of Logan Triangle. It starts at Roosevelt Boulevard and goes north to W Louden Street.


Logan Triangle Photo Trash Survey

Logan Civic Association meeting on May 14, 2018 will discuss Illegal Dumping in Logan Triangle.

I conducted a photo trash survey of Logan Triangle on May 8th.  There are dozens of illegal dump sites in City streets and sidewalks as well as on Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) property. Here’s a summary of the survey:

 

Logan Triangle Area Illegal Dumping

Philly311 & Street Department Illegal Dump Reporting System
Not Working Effectively In Logan Triangle Area

City residents submit service requests to Philly311 for illegal dumping issues. These requests are forwarded to the Street Department for action and updates are provided to the Service Request database to confirm that the trash issue has be resolved.

I have compared Philly311’s Illegal Dumping Data with 4/24/18 DashCam street trash observations in Logan Triangle to see how well the City and residents are working together to tackle the Logan Triangle street trash problem. The brief report summarizes my findings and makes a series of recommendations to provide trash dumping relief to the beleaguered residents of Logan Triangle.

Philly311 Illegal Dumping Service Requests for 2018 – Year to Date

Philly311 data show 13 Illegal Dumping service requests for the January 1 – April 24, 2018 period. 10 requests are reported to be closed and 3 are active, as shown below:

Click any slide in the slideshow below to see some of the trash piles found in the 4/24/18 dashcam survey.

Findings

  1. Tires, construction debris, residential trash and loose litter cover this area.
  2. Philly311 data does not realistically reflect the distressing nature of the illegal dumping problem in Logan Triangle.
  3. Hundreds of people pass through this area daily, yet there were only 13 service requests over a nearly 114-day period.
  4. Nearby residents and commuters as well a City employees (Police, Streets, L&I, Water, CLIP, others) ignored the excessive loose litter and numerous trash piles as they pass through this area every day.
  5. While Streets Department personnel closed 10 service requests, numerous trash piles remain.
  6. Philly311 Database illegal dumping updates do not to provide useful information on the nature and extent of the service request and remaining trash issues after specific SR was cleaned up.
  7. It is not appropriate to close out individual illegal dumping service requests for a chronic dumping areas like Logan Triangle without initiating broader corrective actions to stem ongoing tire and construction debris dumping.

Recommendations

We need a better Philly311 – Streets Department reporting and follow-up system to clean-up this area and prevent future illegal dumping.

Since this is a known – chronic illegal dumping area, I request that the City conduct dashcam type Illegal Dumping surveys and remove all illegal dumping in Logan Triangle on a daily basis. A dashcam type survey could be completed in about 1 hour per day.

The City’s current approach of waiting for residents to submit Philly311 illegal dumping service requests does not make sense in an area like Logan Triangle that gets multiple dumps each day. The City needs to be proactive, spot the new dumps each day, rather than wait for service requests from frustrated residents, many of who have given up hope of solving this problem.

Clearly the City needs an illegal dumping strategy which must include increased controls on tires, construction debris and residential trash. The Logan Triangle residents and commuters need short term actions to clean-up the mess while the Zero Waste & Litter Cabinet works out the long term solutions to this problem.

Philly311, Streets, L&I and CLIP should open a standing Logan Triangle Illegal Dumping SR and provide daily surveys and necessary cleanups until such time as the City has a permanent solution to the Logan Triangle trash problem.

Residential Access to Philadelphia’s Sanitation Convenience Centers

Philadelphia has 6 Sanitation Convenience Centers (SCC) that provide residents  safe, free, reliable disposal sites for excess trash and special items like tires and TVs,electronics.

These Centers are a critical resource for the City’s Zero Waste and Litter efforts, however, there are two residential access issues that must be addressed to ensure their potential effectiveness:

  1. Approximately 33% of Philadelphia Housing Units do not own or lease a vehicle, presenting a serious challenge to residents with excess trash. How do they get their excess trash to an SCC?

    This map shows the of % households without a  vehicle by Census Tract. More than 50% of households do not have a vehicle in 71 census tracts.
    Residents how do not have access to a vehicle so that they can not use the City’s Convenience Centers without borrowing or renting a vehicle.
    We may need some type of trash taxi service for those households without access to a vehicle.

  2. For those households with a vehicle, travel times from residents’ home to an SCC and back can present a significant time challenge. The following map shows the estimated one-way travel times areas for 5, 10 and 15 minutes trips.

    I think that a 15-minute one-way travel time (30 minutes round trip) is the upper limit for residents to transport excess trash to a SCC on a regular basis.

Residents access to an SCC is critical for reducing illegal dumping. The City will need to improve access to the SCCs for households without vehicles and those outside the 15-minute travel time zones

 

Residential Neighborhood Trash Dumping

Residential trash dumping is a major source of street trash. This post examines Philly311 data for one south Philadelphia block to shown the chronic nature of residential trash dumping and to demonstrate how Philadelphia can use existing data resources to identify and tackle our trash problem.

S 19th & Hoffman Streets

The vacant lot on the NW corner of S 19th & Hoffman Streets has proven to be a chronic residential trash dumping site. Philly311 has recorded 53 Illegal Dumping Service Requests for this intersection since Dec., 2015, when the City started the current Philly311 system.

This Google StreetView from June, 2011 shows that this intersection is no stranger to illegal dumping. Notice the trash pile on the right side of the image from 6 years ago.

The following 12 photos are some  of the photos submitted to Philly311 by Philadelphia residents between February 7 and April 5, 2017.

Click any photo to start slideshow:

Conclusion

These photos demonstrate that the Hoffman & S 19th Streets area has a longstanding, chronic residential trash dumping problem that has not been effectively addressed.

  • Philly311 recorded and processed illegal dumping service requests for S 19th & Hoffman Streets 53 times
  • Streets Department dispatched crews to remove residential trash dumping multiple times
  • Neither Philly311 or Streets Department recognized the repetitive nature of the S 19th & Hoffman Streets residential trash dumping
  • No assessment of the S 19th & Hoffman Streets trash problem was made
  • No corrective action plan was developed
  • No remedial action was undertaken

My Illegal Dumping Hot Spot Analysis (link) shows that Philadelphia has dozens of residential trash dumping sites like the S 19th & Hoffman Streets site.

Philadelphia has the data, both Philly311 service requests and Streets Department work requests to identify and address residential trash hot spots. Unfortunately, no one is using the existing data to identify and address the residential trash dumping issue. While it is important to clean up trash dump sites, we must add an identification and prevention strategy/capability if we hope to reduce future street trash.

The Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet will be rolling out a new Litter Index database that will help tackle the City’s trash problem. My take-home message is that we need more than data to solve our trash problems, we need management processes to use the data to understand the causes of our trash problems, identify and take corrective actions and measure progress.

We need to assess our current trash collection policies and procedures:

  • Is City-wide once a week trash collection adequate?
  • Are there some neighborhoods that require more frequent trash collection? The S 19th & Hoffman Streets example shows that some areas need more frequent trash pickup.
  • Do we have adequate analytical capabilities in the Streets Department – Phill311 to identify chronic problem areas. The Police Department has an impressive Crime Stats capability that identifies problem areas and supports management efforts to adjust practices as needed. Philly311 and Streets Department need comparable capabilities.

Philadelphia Street Trash – Working Paper

My most recent report on Philadelphia Street Trash includes this hot spot analysis of Philly311 Illegal Dumping Service Requests. You can download the report here.