City to get deep clean after messy winter

By John M. Guilfoil
Globe Staff / March 16, 2011

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Year after year, the winter wonderlands fade to sunshine and flowers. But the melting snow leaves other things behind on city streets: dirt, mud, trash, and potholes.

After the harsh winter Boston endured, the amount of muck left behind is just too much to sweep under the rug this year. So Mayor Thomas M. Menino has decided to launch his own version of spring cleaning, dispatching “Clean Teams’’ to city neighborhoods, targeting areas for a deeper scrubbing than normal.

“We are getting a jump on the cleanup, bringing all hands on deck to make sure our roads are safe and our neighborhoods are clean,’’ Menino said in an interview yesterday. “Winter may be ending, but the cleanup work is just beginning.’’

The mayor’s Clean Teams will walk through every neighborhood, joining officials from Public Works, the Parks Department, Boston Main Streets, and the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services to coordinate customized cleanup strategies for each business district and neighborhood.

So if South Boston needs potholes filled, East Boston needs some extra trash picked up, and Roslindale needs a few extra street sweeper runs, they’ll get them.

“People have gone through a tough winter, and I think everyone is ready for spring,’’ said Joanne Massaro, commissioner of public works. “Part of spring is that everyone gets in a cleaning mood.’’

Starting this week, Public Works will hit major arteries and targeted streets with extra street sweepers at night and on weekends, ahead of the regular residential sweeping schedule, which starts next month. Residents will not be towed during these extra sweeps, but are asked to show courtesy to the sweepers, the mayor’s office said.

Pothole patrol crews filled more than 2,390 holes over the last month, and more roadwork is coming.

“This is very important. We had a tough winter, and there’s a lot of grime and dirt out there,’’ Menino said. “This year, it’s a real aggressive program, and we want it more coordinated.’’

Residents can download the Citizens Connect smartphone application ( to report potholes, graffiti, or other problems.

“Winter is over. Now it’s time to get back outside and clean up and plant flowers and grow our lawns,’’ Menino said. “As the temperature goes up, Boston is going to sparkle.’’

John M. Guilfoil can be reached at