THIS JUST IN: Local bicyclists’ push for clean and safe bike lanes may lead to improved street sweeping efficiency and lower operating costs for the City.
I recently attended a Public Works Committee meeting when the results of the street sweeping audit and costing analysis were reviewed and the results are pretty exciting.
The comprehensive audit of the current sweeping contractor was conducted in response to concerns raised by local bicyclists around the amount of debris in bike lanes and the significant safety hazard that it represents to people on bicycles. The audit focused on the current sweeping contractor’s delivery, reporting, invoicing, as well as the effectiveness of City administration’s management of the work. The audit found many provisions of the contract were met, however, there were several issues identified in the GPS monitoring system, reporting of work completed, and instances of excessive speed while sweeping.
After reading the report, there is obviously room for improvement.
In addition to the audit, costing analysis was also done to see if bringing the street cleaning service in-house and using City resources would be a more cost-effective option. Two new personnel and three sweeping vehicles were recommended for the work and that would allow the city to clean over 13,000 miles of streets at $30.39 per mile. The current sweeping contract only covers 5,800 miles at $58.38 per mile–a drastic improvement.
That means we could have more than double the streets swept each year at a much cheaper rate.
Due to this huge efficiency gain, City staff recommends bringing the service in-house and we think most citizens would probably agree. Cleaner, more rideable streets and save money? Yes, please!
The next step is for this proposal to go to the City Finance Committee for further review and consideration. Then, it will move on to City Council for approval and implementation. However, it will be awhile before the in-house services are up and running since we will still be under contract with the current sweeping vendor into next year and it will take some time to prepare for the transition. So in the meantime, the City will perform supplemental street cleaning services on 16 street segments (totalling 14.5 centerline miles), which will include bicycle lanes.
Remember, this all came about because local bicyclists raised their voice and demanded a more bike-friendly City. BIG THANKS to all those who submitted comments. You can see it made a difference.
We should also thank our partners in the City who responded with a genuine interest in making things better and did the work to identify a positive solution.
Lee Garrity (City Manager) who responded to our comments in early 2017 by initiating the audit and costing analysis
Scott Tesh (Performance & Accountability Director) and his team who conducted the comprehensive audit and costing analysis
Jonnie Taylor (Head of Sanitation) who developed a plan for supplemental street cleaning and his team who works to keep the bike lanes clear trash bins, leave and other hazards.
Toneq’ McCullough (Director of Transportation) and her team who work regularly with WS CAN to discuss ways to make our streets more bike-friendly.
Every voice counts, every action matters. Together we are making Winston-Salem more bike-friendly.