Mayor Adrian M. Fenty today officially launched “Sweepercam,” the District’s license plate recognition equipment, in Ward 7’s River Terrace neighborhood. The District and Chicago are the first cities in the country to apply this technology to street sweeping.
Sweepercams are street sweepers equipped with cameras that enable the District to improve the sweeping program’s effectiveness by decreasing the number of illegally parked vehicles. The Department of Public Works is responsible for both street sweeping and parking enforcement.
“The biggest challenge to effective street sweeping is the number of parked cars that block the sweeping lane during cleaning hours,” said Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. “This is a clear win-win for District residents. We will save resources; and removing pollutants, such as oil, grease, nitrogen and phosphorus, from the streets keeps them from being washed into rivers and streams by rainfall.”
“The 2009 street sweeping program began March 23; but ticketing begins today, March 30, and the tickets carry a $30 fine,” said DPW Director William O. Howland, Jr. “DPW traditionally gives motorists a week to get used to moving their cars before we issue parking tickets.” Mr. Howland added that while Sweepercam addresses street cleaning parking violations, DPW’s Parking Control Officers also will be working in residential neighborhoods writing tickets for other parking violations, such as expired registration and zone parking.
Street sweeping is a major component of the District’s efforts to control pollution from stormwater runoff. “Routine street sweeping collects a range of pollutants, including sediments and trace metals,” said George Hawkins, Director of the District Department of the Environment. For every 10 miles swept, about 100 pounds of oil and grease and 30 pounds each of nitrogen and phosphorus are removed by street sweepers. “Oil and grease have been linked to the high occurrence of tumors in bottom-dwelling fish in the Anacostia River,” he said.
Mr. Howland added that motorists will be able to review their citations online and the citation will provide visible evidence that a sweeper was on site and in operation, but most of all it will allow sweepers to do the job the residents on that street have asked DPW to do.
For more information about DPW’s street sweeping program and for frequently asked questions about Sweepercam, visit www.dpw.dc.gov, go to Brochures and Fact Sheets under the Information section and click on Sweepercam FAQ.