I previously wrote about Philadelphia’s innovative use of technology to identify potential vacant buildings and properties in this Nov. 16, 2016 post. The data is readily available on the OpenDataPhilly site (link to data).
This article provides background information on how the City develops the Vacant Property Indicators. In this post I want to show how citizens can field verify the Vacant Property Indicators data.
In my District 8 travels, I found a number of chronic illegal dumping sites, including the 400 Block of Collom Street.
Trash Photo: 4/2/15
Trash Photo: 4/2/15
Based on my visits to the 400 Block of Collom St, I know that there is a large vacant commercial property and building that is used as an illegal dumping site. I wanted to see how the City’s Vacant Property Indicator data assessed this properties in the 400 Block of Collom Street.
Using ArcMap 10.4, I developed a map included the Vacant Property Indicators and the Philadelphia Department of Revenue parcel boundaries. Here is a screenshot of the resulting map:
The Vacant Property Indicator (11/16 version latest available on OpenDataPhilly) does not show 437 Collom to be vacant.
September, 2016 Google StreetView photography is available for the 400 Block of Collom Street. Here are screenshots looking NE and SW.
Google StreetView and my repeated visits to the site confirm to me that 437 Collom St is vacant while the Vacant Property Indicators do not classify the either the property or building as vacant.
I will raise this finding with the OpenDataPhilly Discussion Group (link) and will report back on any updates.
(Philadelphia’s Zero Waste & Litter Cabinet released a significantly enhanced 2017 Litter Index in February, 2018. Please see that post to see how the City has improved the Litter Index to a level comparable to LA’s index (LINK)
Philadelphia has been using a litter index to assess street trash conditions since 2007 (link). Here is the most recent litter index, downloaded from OpenDataPhilly. The actual dates for the litter survey data is not provided.
Philadelphia’s Litter Index provides a 1-4 composite score for 111 trash collection day area in the City. The City’s meta data file states:
The Litter Index is used to compare the relative cleanliness of different areas of the city of Philadelphia. he relative cleanliness of different areas of the city of Philadelphia.
Originally created in 2007, the Litter Index is used to compare the relative cleanliness of different areas of the city. The Litter Index is scored on a 1-4 scale with 1 being minimal litter and 4 being extremely littered.
The City’s Litter Index has a number of shortcomings which limit its usefulness as a City trash hot spot identification and management tool.
- Data collection is based on relatively large areas, with an average of 2.2 square miles. Seriously trash street segments are masked when the data is averaged over such a large area.
- Street Litter Index Values for specific areas vary widely from survey to survey, raising concerns about the reliability of the underlying methodology (link).
- There is no relationship between 311 Illegal Dumping Service Requests and Street Litter Index.
Los Angeles has developed a Street Cleanliness Index (link) which provides detailed street segment by segment data not available in Philadelphia’s index.
Here is a short video describing how LA used a dashcam, smartphone camera and ArcGIS to score each street segment in LA.
LA uses assigns a 1 to 3 cleanliness score for Loose Litter, Illegal Dumping, Weeds and Bulky Items as well as a composite score. Here is an example of the LA Cleanliness Score Map , showing segments with Clean, Somewhat Clean and Not Clean scores.
With the LA method, the Not Clean (red) segments standout. Philadelphia needs to adopt a detailed street litter index score system like LA so that we can pinpoint the badly trash street segments and begin getting our trash problems under control.
District 8 has 4,049 street segments, 33.5% of them had 1 or more 311 Illegal Dumping Service Requests. 29 of these segments had 11 – 43 requests.
These chronic illegal dumping hot spots need enforcement attention. Removing the latest illegal dump just gives the dumper proof that his/her dumping will be handled by the City at no cost to the law breaker.
Click here or on the map image to see how Philadelphia’s 311 OpenDataPhilly files can be used by civic groups, City Councilors and others to identify critical hot spot problems in their neighborhood.
Philadelphia’s 311 system allows users to submit photos related to their service requests. Click on the map below or (link) to see the 304 photos for District 8 Illegal Dumping Service requests between 12/8/14 and 11/16/16.
You can view details of the Illegal Dumping Service Request by clicking on the black dot symbol for the service request.
By pressing the More info link, you can see the submitted illegal dumping image.