Neither rain nor snow nor heat nor gloom of night...not even the wet stuff that finally started falling an hour ago...keeps these public servants from their rounds. Yes, today marks the start of Denver's street-sweeping program. The service is free, but the tickets that inevitably follow the sweepers are not.
Last year, the city doubled the fine for cars parked on street-sweeping routes from $25 to $50 (that's if you pay them in time), and issued more than 100,000 tickets. And we're betting that 90 percent of them inspired howls of anger from the recipients.
Have a street-sweeping ticket tale? Post it in our comments section below -- and we'll give fifty bucks to the person who spills the saddest story. (Deadline is 7 a.m. next Wednesday, April 10.)
In the meantime, here's the official word from the Denver Department of Public Works:
SHOW YOUR PRIDE, MOVE YOUR RIDE!
DENVER, CO -- Monday, April 02, 2012 -- It is that time of year when the street sweepers hit Denver's residential streets and you are asked to 'show your pride and move your ride'! Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, April 3, street sweeping on residential streets begins and continues through November. Sweepers and Right of Way Enforcement will be out Tuesdays through Fridays, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., therefore it is vital that residents move their vehicles on their sweeping day(s).
"Street sweeping works best when the sweepers are able to clean from curb to curb," said George Delaney, Manager of Denver Public Works. "The only way the sweepers can do this is if our residents do their part by moving their vehicles on their street sweeping day."
Street sweeping plays a critical role in keeping Denver's streets, air and water clean. Denver Public Works Street Sweeping Program removes dirt, leaves and debris from City streets, which reduces air and water pollution and supports a clean environment. Last year, Denver street sweeping crews swept 103,645 lane miles in Denver and collected 41,675 cubic yards of dirt and debris.
Thanks to the efforts of Denver residents moving their vehicles in 2011, nearly 12% less street sweeping citations were issued and Denver Public Works wants to continue the trend of issuing fewer sweeping citations. Here are a couple of ways for residents to remember their street sweeping days:
• Sign up to receive a free email reminder of your street sweeping day. Visit www.KeepItCleanDenver.org and click on the "Show Your Pride, Move Your Ride" sweeper icon to sign up. Be sure you know what day of the week your sweeping day falls on (for example, "the 3rd Thursday of the month") so that you can enter it when you sign-up. The day of the week when street sweeping takes place on your street is listed on the red and white street sweeping signs. Winner of Westword's "Best of Free Service 2011."
• Request "No Parking" sticker reminders for your calendar by calling Denver's customer service line at 3-1-1.
Residential streets in Denver are swept once per month where posted (not every block has restrictions), so please be sure to move your vehicle according to the signs on your block and avoid a $50.00 parking citation. Additionally, residents must follow the sweeping time restrictions on their blocks and refrain from parking during the restricted times posted, even if it appears a sweeper has cleaned the street, as sweepers may need to return to the area for additional sweeping.
Denver Public Works Street Sweeping program consists of 28 street sweepers (plus four backup units) and 10 dump trucks. The sweepers simultaneously mist the street while rotating brooms sweep debris and dust up into the unit (the hopper). When the hopper is full, the contents are transferred to a dump truck to be taken to the landfill.
Other ways to help Denver Public Works keep our streets clean:
• Be the Denver Difference and remind your neighbors to move their car on street sweeping day.
• Trim low hanging branches on your street - the sweepers are 10.6 feet high and the trucks that accompany them are 12 feet high.
• Remove items from the gutter on street sweeping days.
• On your sweeping day, set trash and recycling bins off of the street on the apron of your driveway or on the curb as close to the street as possible, but not on the sidewalk.
And there's one more thing you can do: Sign up for free text message alerts on your no-parking day, in case the city's e-mail service is not enough reminder. "Get a text, not a ticket," urges local design and marketing agency Honest Bros., which developed the free text message service two years ago. "There is nothing more frustrating to start or end your day with one of those yellow envelopes sticking out of your car door," says Eric Hines, founder of Honest Bros. "We just want to get the word out about the program so more people can hopefully save a little cash this season."
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Be careful out there.
Street-sweepers are not the only hazards out there. Read about a citation horror-story in "Parking ticket at 4 a.m. for a tire on the curb? Denver enforcement never sleeps...."