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Added Oct 23 2011

Has anyone noticed how dirty our streets are? It seems as if some people are creating a natural wasteland as they walk.

I have seen how some people will be on their way to work and even if there is a trash can on the corner before they cross the street they still decide the ground is a better place for their trash.

How can I help stop this? How can I make a point that we "humans" are destroying the place we live in?
How can I do ANYTHING?

Any suggestions?

  • Do what I do. Lead by example. When I walk my dog - I take a trash bag. If I see litter that annoys me - I remove it.

  • SDF Irving Park resident. SSA 60 Commission

    The city organizes a spring clean and green where community groups and block clubs get together and clean up the neighborhood. You can organize one anytime with your civic group, block club or even the neighbors on your block. Pick the streets you want to clean up and spread out to get it done.

  • Dzt 30 year resident

    Citizen's arrest for litter...maybe the city could 'clean-up' with the fines. (jk)

  • Sporto Albany Park Avenger 30+ year resident

    Many people from underdeveloped countries who immigrate here (Albany Park) find it customary to throw their trash in the street.

  • Bob Kastigar 15 Years North Park, bike rider, retired

    Sporto has a point. People from different countries do have different standards and cultures. There are lots of differences besides littering. Some are very offensive to long term residents.

  • Greg Resident

    Organize a block cleanup. If it is on a weekend you can sign me up

  • Dzt 30 year resident

    I live right on an alley, and at least once a month have to do a major cleanup at what ends up at my bushes, garage, home. Some people are just such pigs. I have been doing this for 30 years, but what else can I do? Getting a little old for this. Time to move I guess.

  • Bill Near Rockwell L

    I often pick up a little trash each time I walk, and throw it away. "Light a candle rather than cursing the darkness..."

  • amekami77 amekami77

    I have noticed it too when I was walking between Montrose and Sunnyside on Kedzie. It made me sad, people are lazy and don't care. We live in a country that has a waste removal system ........not like other countries that are far less fortunate and if a community takes a responsibility to designate a trash area and burn it, that is the best they can do. But here, there is NO excuse, maybe if people were exposed to countries less fortunate than us, they might appreciate what we have. And if people were brought up with stronger values and morales......maybe most of the time when I call customer service, it is picked up in India. Americans (generally speaking) are clueless to the misfortunes in other countries. We assume we are superior, and people in 3rd world countries are dumb. When we are the dumb, for not understanding those people didn't choose their lives where they were born. And most of the 3rd world countries work harder on education and fluently speak English and their language (and sometimes more). I have been to other countries and have a clearer respect and feel blessed for what we have. (I don't want to get started on the ignorance of increase in our area in the past 2 hrs!)

  • JP Albany Park Resident since 2010

    Ive been thinking the same thing for a while. Was just walking on Kedzie and Lawrence today and felt really frustrated that I was kicking around trash as I was walking. This definitely requires changing the littering culture in the residents. The only thing I can think of is a little bit of a confrontational method where you can simply walk to a person and say, "Oh I'm sorry, but I think you dropped something." and point to the trash. I see kids that will literally walk by a trash can but throw the trash on the ground about 3 feet away from it. When I make the statement to them, they immediately run and pick it up. Hopefully it makes them think twice, but who knows.

    If you organize a community trash pick up around that area I know a few residents that would be happy to join up. Just let us know.

  • Flew That Chicago born & raised. You can come home again!

    If I see someone throwing trash on the street, I say, "Excuse me but I think you dropped something." Haven't been shot yet and sometimes people actually go back and pick it up.

  • Jess M Parent and teacher

    Oh, I hear you.... boy, do I hear you.

    I talked to both the aldermanic offices about that corner, sending them photos of the nastiness, and the response I got was: "Why don't you clean it up? Organize a clean-up crew."

    So I mentioned that in the two neighborhoods where I work, Lincoln Square and Uptown, the streets seem to be much, much cleaner and that I actually see Streets and San people cleaning up the streets there. (I have seen S and S people cleaning up litter in AP too, once in a blue moon, but they are using leaf rakes and snow shovels to do it, leaving behind a ton of stuff because, frankly, that's not the right equipment for the job.) When I persisted, it was "all the city workers have to take furlough days, so we don't have time to respond to everybody's requests."

    I have also heard ---- not directly from the alderwoman's office --- they're done responding to me, apparently---- but from someone else who had talked to them) was that business owners in Albany Park have refused to pay some kind of tax or assessment that funds sidewalk maintenance. Therefore, we won't be getting any such services until the businesspeople of the area get with it.

    I honestly don't know what the real answer is. (The very cynical part of me says that the city is treating a largely-immigrant community like a red-headed stepchild, but who knows?) I decided that I will clean up in my area (near APMA and Hibbard) and try not to be so pissed about the rest. Still working on that last part.

    If you want to organize a clean-up, say on a Saturday after 1 PM, I'm with you! And I can probably get some friends to pitch in as well.

  • Paul 20 year Lincoln Square resident

    Jess, i agree Lincoln Square is clean. If i see even one piece of garbage in the street, it pisses me off.

  • Cp-Albany Park Filmmaker, Mother, Wife, SuperWoman!

    Guys thank you very much for all the input. I will start looking into setting up a clean-up day. Maybe even pointing it out to people I see littering.

    I did though tell a kid littering at his own school playground that if he didn't pick up I would tell the principal.

    It just happens I had my camcorder that day and I was recording him as he is taking tissue from a tissue box and just throwing it on the floor like it was meant to be there for decoration.

    He saw I had my camera and began to pick up everything putting it back in the box.

    It really makes me angry to see kids acting so destructive and thinking they are better more tougher and so no one will say anything. I honestly felt like grabbing him from his arm and walking him around the playground as he picked up everything from the floor.

    I have three young kids that I am teaching how not to be that way. So that day served as a lecture on littering.

    Well anyways, thank you again and any other info please let me know.

  • Flew That Chicago born & raised. You can come home again!

    Littering IS against the law. Perhaps the police should take an active part in cleaning up our neighborhoods by ticketing offenders.

  • Greg Resident

    In a just society Id agree, but at this point Id rather have police focus on more pressing issues.

  • Flew That Chicago born & raised. You can come home again!

    You know, Greg, I've seen the "more pressing issues" on here so often it makes me sick. I don't get to pick and choose what I do at my job, do you? It's ALL their job and they should do it. Would you like to see all the laws/ordinances that the police don't enforce eradicated?

  • Greg Resident

    Yeah well my place of work isn't broke and short staffed. Sorry you are sick of the truth. The city can't enforce major laws and you are concerned with littering? If a cop sees someone littering, sure write a ticket but they shouldn't patrol the neighborhood looking for litterbugs.

  • chicago girl Resident in Portage park for over 38 years

    I was brought up not to litter from a very young age.It's something that should be taught along with other common sense things.It has to start at home.Also,when iIwas growing up,they use to have public service announcements on tv all the time.That reminded you of how to act and be proud of where you live,Not wreck it for you and others.I am picking up garbage all the time in front of my home.People would rather throw a whole bag of food ,bottles and other garbage in the street rather than to keep it in their car until they get home.Never understood that logic.

  • John Gonzalez want to do more about reducing crime in area

    gather business owners in area to keep it clean, signs, or gather a team of volunteers to clean busy areas. Kimball and Lawrence is another place that usually looks full of litter.

  • I started planting flowers on the parkway outside my house. It never ceases to amaze me how many fast food containers get tossed into the flower beds. Perhaps it is time to pay a visit to the local Dunkin Donuts or Macdonalds to start an antilittering campaign. Maybe I'll start collecting the polystyrene cups so I can return them in person ;)
    You know, like the guy who started callling back the obnoxious telemarketers, or mailing back the unwanted letters.
    The empty beer bottles and cans are a bit more difficult.

  • JoshT Parent, Neighbor, 2 flat owner/glorified janitor

    I haven't seen that 'indian' crying while looking down onto the trashed highway in quite some time. Maybe it's time to put him back into circulation. He was quite an effective spokesperson for the civilized - way back when.

  • Catbus Philosopher, Third-Class

    Greg: Google "broken windows theory."

  • Greg Resident

    Interesting theory, but I'm sure that's a very small portion of people with that rationale. If the theory held true you'd never see vandalism or violence in nice, well kept neighborhoods.

  • MK long-time city girl & dog lover

    Shortly after I first moved to Albany Park (from Lincoln Square) eight years ago, I emailed Mell's office to ask why there was such a big difference between the state of cleanliness of the streets/alleys in Ravenswood Manor and that of the streets immediately west of there (Whipple, Albany, Troy, Kedzie, etc). I asked him what his office could do to improve things on these streets west of the Manor. Big surprise, I go no response.

    I understand the socio-economic demographics of the Manor are quite different from the rest of Albany Park, but I'm frankly tired of that argument. I grew up in a working class Polish neighborhood where no one had money, but people had pride in what their neighborhood looked like. We actually had neighbors who would trim the edge of their lawn on their hands and knees with scissors! All I want now is not have to look at someone else's fast food wrappers & empty Modelo bottles.

    The litter in Albany Park really is disgusting, and if someone could come up with a plan to tackle it in a major way, I would be on board & ready to help. In the meantime, we are left to regular clean-up of our little corner.

  • JoshT Parent, Neighbor, 2 flat owner/glorified janitor

    Carrot and stick - Pride and Shame.

    Rent a billboard. Get video each week of Albany Park litter bugs in action and post it to Community Access TV. Post three photos on the billboard each week - showing this weeks Albany Park Litter Stars.

    That's the shame part.

    Lead by example and clean up your block. That's the pride part.

  • Rob S. Albany Park resident, condo owner. Dog owner.

    I helped out cleaning up along Lawrence with some fellow Albany Parkers a few months ago. Business owners (instead of helping us out) asked what and why were were doing? When we told them, they were under the impression that it's "the city's responsibility."

    Not more than 2 days later the area we cleaned was completely filled with trash.

    I have noticed that many of the (very few as it is anyway) garbage cans have been removed. There used to be cans on Wilson/Kimball, Spaulding/Kimball and Wilson/Kedzie. Does anyone here know why these were removed? It seems as if we already have enough of a litter on the streets problem...wouldn't removing trash cans only exacerbate the problem?

  • MK long-time city girl & dog lover

    Rob S, I know how discouraging it can be to do all that clean-up only to see the place filthy again in a matter of 48 hours. Ugh.

    Some ideas that come to mind:
    We ask Streets & Sans to get those corner trash cans back as well as for confirmation that they will be emptied on a regular basis. (Maybe with the manpower cuts, they couldn't look after them?)

    We contact AP Chamber of Commerce to learn how residents and business owners can work together on the problem. The businesses need to know it's to their benefit if their storefronts/sidewalks look more inviting.

    We bring back the crying Indian! While I'm not in the PR business, I'd love to see a PR campaign to educate kids as well as newcomers to the neighborhood (& the US) about the appropriate way to manage litter. I would think the Albany Park Community Center, which serves many immigrants in the area, and the Chicago Public Schools would be good groups with whom to partner on this message. We should especially target kids in elementary schools, where there is likely a better chance at reaching open minds. I recall how powerful seeing the crying Indian/Native American was; it left a definite impression on me when I was a young girl.

    Lastly, I would love to see incarcerated area gangbangers having to clean the streets they made unsafe - a la chain gang, of sorts - but I don't know enough about the corrections system to know if this is feasible.

  • JoshT Parent, Neighbor, 2 flat owner/glorified janitor

    I like your approaches MK -
    Introducing some shame into the equation is also part a whole solution. It may not be -the feel-good' part - but it is effective.

    And yes - bring back the 'indian' ! (Indian/Native American/First American ; ) )

  • Bob Horner Park West Resident

    Completely agree with folks who mentioned picking up yourself while you are out. Spring and fall clean ups are also a great idea. Our block is doing one and coordinate with the condo buildings. Lastly there are "Clean and Greens" that the City sponsors and UNITE and other neighborhood organizations have led. Good luck!

  • Dan

    I have personally experienced people who pride themselves by littering the streets. For them (a small segment of society), it is a "badge of honor" that the streets within their community are riddled with garbage. I interpret it as they are "ghetto-fying" the streets in which they now live with garbage, similar to the streets on which they were raised. I have also witnessed people taking litter out of their car and depositing it directly onto the curb or street right outside their car and immediately in front of neighboring properties/homes. Also, I find trash on the property in which I occupy, on a daily basis. Some people notice that whatever trash they throw onto certain properties are cleaned up very quickly so they continue to litter those certain properties.

  • Dan
    I have experienced people leaving things on the kerb too - obviously they have cleaned out their car and have dumped things on the sidewalk. I have been trying to see which house on the block these people are visiting, so I can have a conversation with the owner - it only seems to happen on the weekend.
    Can one take pictures of license plates and report them ?

  • . . .

    "I have also witnessed people taking litter out of their car and depositing it directly onto the curb or street right outside their car and immediately in front of neighboring properties/homes. "

    I usually re-deposit said trash on their car. Done this a few times and the usual suspect got the idea after a while.

  • Flew That Chicago born & raised. You can come home again!

    It never fails to amaze me that people come to this country for a better life, then go about creating exactly the same life they left.

  • John Gonzalez want to do more about reducing crime in area

    Here is the problem...too many hispanics in the area. If the area was Irish or Jewish we would NOT have this conversation. Hispanics do NOT put pressure on Mr. Mell. (WE'RE TOO NICE)
    Anyway, all Mr Mell has to say is, "nice kiddy" and most hispanics fall in line. Anyway, if you're serious I say we go by Mr. Mell's office and litter around his place. He "might get the message." In America, nice people finish last!!!!!!!

  • John Gonzalez want to do more about reducing crime in area

    Flew That, it's called human nature or men of habit.
    That Guy, last time I saw a lot of garbage and so many gang signs was when real estate market was slow and some people were hired to shake things up and get people to sell their property...ONLY IN AMERICA!!!! MONEY still RULES!!!!

  • IrvWoodsMom Irving Woods Resident

    "It never fails to amaze me that people come to this country for a better life, then go about creating exactly the same life they left."

    I was wondering when this post was going to go down the them versus us path...never fails

    Anyway, we should put pressure on the business owners and landlords, even though they may not necessarily be the ones littering they should take pride in their place of business. If the businesses on Kimball/Leland took more pride in what is right outside their windows I would frequent Coffee Berry as opposed to Starbucks.

    There was a clean-up a few weeks ago organized by CAPS representative/residents of Central Pk and it encouraged others residents to come out and clean-up and some kids joined in, so these are successful.
    The garbage is frustrating, believe me I understand, but there are things we can do, we just need to get together and be organized on a regular basis, let our voices be heard and take action.

  • Monticello Fuzzy Daddy My aura smiles and never frowns

    "Here is the problem...too many hispanics in the area."

    Well, in my area it's Ukrainian teenagers so I don't think it's a genetic thing...

  • How insulting to blame this problem on certain ethnic groups. I can almost guarantee that this problem is not caused by immigrants, but by uneducated people (not the same!!).
    I think to point at Hispanics or Ukrainians or any other ethnic is also uneducated, and really hope those postings disappear from this blog.
    Use this blog as an outlet to give constructive suggestions!!!

  • Monticello Fuzzy Daddy My aura smiles and never frowns

    I was trying to make the same point with sarcasm, Marco! One of these days I'll remember to put a winky.

  • Bob Kastigar 15 Years North Park, bike rider, retired

    When a car driving by is playing loud music, can you identify the ethnic source of the music?

  • Sam City Mom, CPS Parent, Local Business Supporter

    I think a lot of people believe that the street sweepers are responsible for picking up all garbage, leaves, whatever is in the street by the curb on street cleaning day. I've seen lots of people raking or blowing leaves into the street.

  • Cp-Albany Park Filmmaker, Mother, Wife, SuperWoman!

    Sincerely not to be rude or anything, but those of you pinpointing a certain ethnicity seem to me just a little ignorant. In all honesty the people I have seen littering are not even immigrants or hispanic for that matter.

    They are born USA people!

    They are probably not even from around the neighborhood. They come to this part of the neighborhood to probably work or or who knows maybe just to litter.

    You might think that people that live in a quite decent neighborhood will take care of the rest, well THINK again. I wanted to target dirty, inconsiderate, lazy, people and guess what???


    I personally work with a US CITIZEN born and raised in the US. This person is one of the filthiest person I know. Her work place is like if was her bedroom, sweater thrown on the counter, bag on the floor, car keys next to the soda pop machine. I mean this person believes they live in their work area.

    I have not seen any immigrant throw garbage on the floor since I have moved in to this neighborhood.

    We have bigger problems than to point fingers at any ethnicity. We all have to stop blaming others for our inconsistencies.

    We are the solution and unfortunately we are the problem.

    Yet we want to stand in front of the mirror and pretend we are perfect and better than anyone else.

    WRONG! We are not.

    That is why these sort of sites exist so that we can all somehow work TOGETHER.

  • The Crusty Pirate Old crotchety pirate captain (retired)

    Arrrggg ! Some great speachifying pirate. Just a little lacking in cold had facts.

  • Flew That Chicago born & raised. You can come home again!

    I'm not sure how loud music relates to littering, Bob, but yes - usually I can identify the ethnic source. Or maybe you were just being sarcastic?

  • Bob Kastigar 15 Years North Park, bike rider, retired

    No sarcasm at all.

    Playing loud music in public is the same as littering.

    There are laws against it, but like littering laws they're not really enforced.

    It's hard to associate littering with any particular ethnic group but you can associate loud and offensive music with different cultures.

  • John Gonzalez want to do more about reducing crime in area

    oops...thanks cp. I am too sarcastic at times. What I wanted to say, it has happen throughout our history, that the newest ethnic group (hispanics) get the worst city service. This is especially true with hispanics because we do not complain enough ! (except for me) I'm proud to be hispanic and I'm madly in love with one. It's the city and the lack of service they provide in certain areas that I have a problem with. Thanks again, it's not the first time my sarcasm got me in hot water...lesson learned.

  • John Gonzalez want to do more about reducing crime in area

    I like the idea of a nice looking billboard with pic of children. There is probably one already design somewhere. We also need to put pressure on the alderman. I am going to call his office more than once!!

  • Flew That Chicago born & raised. You can come home again!

    Never thought of it that way, Bob. Quite true! Where does tagging fall in this equation?

  • Bob Kastigar 15 Years North Park, bike rider, retired

    Littering is junk on the ground that needs to be picked up and discarded.

    Loud music playing needs to be turned off.

    Tagging is paint on walls or doors that needs to be cleaned off.

    Keeping the city "clean" is a broad problem.

  • John Gonzalez want to do more about reducing crime in area


  • John Gonzalez want to do more about reducing crime in area


  • John Gonzalez want to do more about reducing crime in area

    It's important for ALL of us to be wise of the garbage we receive from our politicians in Washington...We still have old, rich, anglo men sending poor young men to senseless wars. They get richer and the young get killed and sometimes worst. Garbage down the street should be cleaned. WE SHOULD NEVER EVER TOLERATE THE GARBAGE WE GET FROM WASHINGTON TO START ANOTHER WAR !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's like the rich get richer and the young get killed. Be aware of the garbage from Washington to start another war somewhere, sometime soon.... SAD BUT TRUE

  • chicago girl Resident in Portage park for over 38 years

    It's a shame.They want to keep raising your taxes.Making up new ways to do this.But yet,they won't do anything for you when you call and request city services.I haven't seen anything being done in any neighborhood in awhile.My neighbor requested her tree on the parkway to be trimmed,since it loses huge branches and has broken a car window from it,and is hanging on her roof for awhile now.They are finally coming tomorrow(it says) after calling on it back in April.Almost 7 months is really uncalled for.

  • JoshT Parent, Neighbor, 2 flat owner/glorified janitor

    @ John G. -Please - No ridiculous 'Anglo' comments. It's as bad as if it were the opposite being said.

    This conversation is about littering. We all know the world's full of other problems - we see that everyday - it doesn't go unnoticed.

  • John Gonzalez want to do more about reducing crime in area

    Sorry Josh, most are NOT aware untill the garbage drops on their lap. If we were aware the last two wars would not have happen. I really should say corporations start wars ( $$$) and congress follow their lead ($$$$). Anyway, it's important to look at the big pic, not just the garbage down the street. Nothing wrong with being anglo...except when they get to congress. Why are we not using the word garbage? litter???

  • JoshT Parent, Neighbor, 2 flat owner/glorified janitor

    Yes - This Anglo was marching with 6 million others - in the cold - when it could have mattered - January 2003.

    Encourage those in your community to throw away their garbage in garbage cans - not the street. It's not Ok and it makes the offenders look like the slobs that they are.

  • loraine t washington 5 yr. resident

    small towns fine people.

  • John Gonzalez want to do more about reducing crime in area

    The kimball and lawrence train station is the corner stone of albany park and it should be beautiful and clean. It is now ugly and full of garbage!!!! What is going on??? Who is the alderman there??? Albany Bank should take charge and help clean up. If you have your money there, let them know!!! Why is lawrence between pulaski and kedzie so ungly and full of garbage???
    I think that the end of the brown line station has more garbage than any other in the city!!! WHAT IS GOING ON!!!! The blue line stations are so much cleaner. I will be calling the alderman and suggest that YOU do the same!!! I pay enough taxes and refuse to have to clean the garbage myself.

  • John Gonzalez want to do more about reducing crime in area

    Get the alderman to do their job....

  • John Gonzalez want to do more about reducing crime in area

    Now that I'm more aware of the garbage in albany park, I want to flood the alderman with calls. She is NOT doing her job!!!!

  • chicago girl Resident in Portage park for over 38 years

    There should be somebody who works for the city /alderman who could walk around or drive around looking at their neighborhood.There is life outside the office.Check it out :)

  • John Gonzalez want to do more about reducing crime in area

    I called the alderman and will call again at 3;30, when she is there. I was told that the area will be cleaned up by tomorrow. I want to set an appt with her about what she is doing about the gang problem in albany park. YOUNG PEOPLE IN GANGS SHOULD BE ILLEGAL. PERIOD.

  • JoshT Parent, Neighbor, 2 flat owner/glorified janitor

    The sole responsibility (or even the majority of the responsibility) does not and should not lie at the feet of a government agency to keep the neighborhood clean. It's the responsibility of a civilized people to clean up after themselves. Should we call the Alderman to wipe for us too ?

    It's not Ok to be slobs. Let it be known.

  • chicago girl Resident in Portage park for over 38 years

    @JoshT Really? Duh.The suggestion was to have someone check around and see what the problem is,besides lazy people being sloppy.Maybe there aren't enough containers in the area.Maybe there are people hanging around the same areas all the time and littering there constantly.That is my suggestion.Hey.I'm a neat freak.I do my part.I can't pick up after everyone.If I had extra time on my hands,maybe I would.When someone gives a suggestion,why does someone always have to take the comment to another level?By the way, I do wipe myself ,My mom taught me how when I was younger.Just like she taught me not to litter. thanks for caring

  • JoshT Parent, Neighbor, 2 flat owner/glorified janitor

    Sorry - my take is that the problem is not at some institutional level. It's at a community level. If it's the norm to just litter without regard then any amount of garbage cans and tax dollar clean-up are all for naught. I'm sure that you probably clean more than your share - but that get's back to the 'teach a man to fish' argument. Community education and instilling pride for a clean community (or even using shame as a tactic) is a much better use of energy than having an agency clean up behind those who should be doing it themselves.

  • Since we all seem to agree that businesses should be more involved in the appearance of the streets, maybe we should approach the Albany Park Chamber of Commerce. They have direct and constant contact with the business owners (at least I'd imagine) and they could provide some sort of education, help. Also, maybe approach schools, children need to be educated on these issues.

  • Bob Kastigar 15 Years North Park, bike rider, retired

    I just took the Brown Line back from downtown, the library readout. A lot of newspapers just left on the train, so I picked them all up and dumped them in the recycle garbage can on the way out.

    All Spanish language free newspapers.

  • Good for you, and thanks for picking up trash on the trains. Too bad your good actions are shadowed by your offensive comments towards the Latino community. As I mentioned in a previous comment, this is not a problem related to ethnicity, but to lack of education. I feel your racial comments are extremely offensive and completely out of place in this forum. Maybe you are confused or ignorant of the ultimate goal of this blog which is “community”. Chicago, is a diverse community and Albany Park is well known for that. I am going to ask you to “please” stop accusatory comments and “think” before you press the post button.

  • Bob Kastigar 15 Years North Park, bike rider, retired

    I posted a fact, not an opinion.

  • amekami77 amekami77

    @ John Gonzales, the increase in gunfire, crimes (cars, homes etc) being broken into, graffiti.......just last evening approx 5:45pm, some male white standing near entry of my building trying to light his crack pipe....when I walked down steps and he saw me, he had the "deer in the head lights" look and moved to the building next door. I have seen drug deals and prostitution in the neighborhood. Being a mom of 3 kids (ages 1,3 &5) ALL OF THIS IS DISTURBING AND UNACCEPTABLE. Since Rod Blagovich is no longer the governor and we have lost 24 hour state troopers at his home between Francisco & Sacramento on Sunnyside, is when this gradually started to change for the worse in the neighborhood. And in the past year have escalated to gunfire, gangs, graffiti, prostitutes and theft. I have lived here (sunnyside/Kedzie) going on 7 years. I used to really love the neighborhood. However now, day or night you REALLY have to keep your guard up and be VERY AWARE of your surroundings.

  • amekami77 amekami77

    It would help if we got more police presence in the area, we all need to call. Shots fired, suspicious activity, crack smokers, etc. I believe if we are all vigilant, it will help keep our neighborhood safer :-)

  • John Gonzalez want to do more about reducing crime in area


  • John Gonzalez want to do more about reducing crime in area


  • Bob Kastigar 15 Years North Park, bike rider, retired

    How do you know I don't read Spanish?

    What has this to do with littering around Kedzie and Lawrence?

    Also unrelated: I just got on the L at Logan Square last Friday. Every stop on the Brown Line has an accommodation for the disabled. Either a ramp or an elevator.

    The Blue Line has many, if not most, stations without access for handicapped. Northbound, you have to go from Logan Square all the way to Jefferson Park if you're on a wheelchair.

    By this standard, the Brown Line is far superior to the Blue Line.

  • John Gonzalez want to do more about reducing crime in area

    I wanted to talk to the alderman (ms laurino) but she did was not at the office yesterday. maybe she will call me today. again, the end of the brown line is the corner stone of albany park and it should be clean (no excuses) and attractive. I also want to know what is being done about the gang problem in our ward and the city. TOO MUCH GARBAGE AND TOO MUCH CRIME!! I think we should be calling our aldermen more often to make sure our ward is clean and safe...(if they can't do it, they should let us know)

  • Bob Kastigar 15 Years North Park, bike rider, retired

    Regarding crime: one of the things you can do is to attend a CAPS meeting regularly. Even if you don't have anything to complain about, go anyway to show your support for the police. should find you a date and time.

    The last meeting for Beat 1712 had over 60 people attend, and at every meeting I've been to there's been a representative from Ald. Laurino's office present to answer questions and listen to issues.

  • Hi everyone - just got tapping into this conversation today. We're very interested in cleaning up Albany Park commercial streets and getting businesses and community members connected to a clean-up. We'd love to hear your ideas.

    A neighborhood clean-up is something very doable. And we've done it before. We work closely with groups like U.N.I.T.E. Civic, Ravenswood Manor Improvement Association and West Albany Park Green Team to coordinate clean-ups on Lawrence, Kedzie, Montrose, etc. We've brought North Park University's 60-person football team to Lawrence Ave to clean up the street and fill planters. Last year we worked with the 33rd Ward to bring Roosevelt HS students out to clean-up. It's a perpetual need.

  • Btw, the Special Service Area (SSA) is the tax referred to a while back in Uptown & Lincoln Square- it is a tax that businesses pay that is used in a certain designated geographic area for commercial revitalization services like street cleaning (hiring the group that Uptown uses - CleanSlate), filling planters, storefront renovation programs, etc.

    Albany Park does not have the SSA. There used to be an SSA along Lawrence Avenue in the 1980s - it was SSA #6. It was only around for a short time until it was removed. To date it is the only SSA in the city to be removed.

    To John G's question about Alderman - Alderman Mell takes all 3 Albany Park CTA stations - he has both sides of Lawrence Avenue from the river west to Kedzie, then he takes the south side from Kedzie west to Lawndale. Ald. Laurino takes the north side of Lawrence Avenue from Kedzie to Lawndale.

  • Bob Kastigar 15 Years North Park, bike rider, retired

    Why was SSA #6 removed?

  • Unsure of the exact reason why it was removed. I know it had something to do with a few business owners being unhappy they had to pay an additional tax. They complained and it was removed. Again, this was a while ago.

  • Bob Kastigar 15 Years North Park, bike rider, retired

    I thought so.

    Everybody wants the streets and neighborhood clean, but want somebody else to pay for it.

  • MK long-time city girl & dog lover

    Albany Park Chamber of Commerce, thanks for your comments! As a neighborhood, we need to work with you, so I'm thrilled to see you here.

    While I'm happy to participate in a neighborhood clean-up, I think we need to think in broader way. An occasional clean-up is fine, but it's a temporary solution that is sort of like addressing a symptom versus curing the illness, in my opinon.

    We need a multi-pronged approach to attack this litter problem - trash cans on the corners to be emptied by the city, regular clean-ups by neighborhood volunteers, an education campaign in the elementary schools and at the community center.

    How can the business community help? How do we get an SSA back in Albany Park? I don't want to burden small businesses with yet another fee, but if it's reasonable and every business contributes, it would help a lot. I like what I've just read briefly on Wikipedia about CleanSlate. How do we get them to our neck of the woods?

    In addition to a clean-up, let's sit down together to strategize and come up with tactics that will go to the root of the matter.

  • JoshT Parent, Neighbor, 2 flat owner/glorified janitor

    "an education campaign in the elementary schools and at the community center." AP kids are probably the greatest ROI in this uphill battle. They can always help to educate their parents.

  • Jess M Parent and teacher

    Sorry, JoshT, I'm ignorant: what's ROI?

    Albany Park Chamber of Commerce: I'm very glad you are commenting here on EveryBlock, but frankly I'm a little underwhelmed by your leadership in this area. Isn't a clean neighborhood good for business? Why are we spending money to revamp storefronts for "commercial revitalization" when the sidewalk outside looks like a garbage dump anyway? It seems to me like sanitation should be Priority #1. My kid almost picked up someone's used bloody bandage this morning, for goodness' sake!

    Okay, well, I'm going to send an email to the principals of APMA, Hibbard, and Edison and see if they have any input on how to get the kids in the neighborhood on board.

  • Jess M Parent and teacher

    Okay, email sent to principals and any LSC members whose emails I could track down. I'll let y'all know if/when I get a response. I'll also go to the Hibbard LSC meeting if I can and see if I can talk to Principal Ahlman face-to-face.

    Oh, shoot, I neglected to include the community center!

  • JoshT Parent, Neighbor, 2 flat owner/glorified janitor

    @ Jess M - ROI - Return on Investment

  • Catbus Philosopher, Third-Class

    What MK said. The goal is to keep the litter from hitting the ground. We need a forceful, multilingual education campaign, targeting adults as well as youth.

    In particular, IMO, we need to target SMOKERS. I can't count the number of times I've been waiting for a bus and seen a smoker chuck a butt on the ground -- even when there was a trash can WITHIN ARM'S LENGTH. It's like they think their cigarettes just wink out of existence as soon as they drop from their fingers. Seriously, people?

    Cigarette butts aren't the most unsightly or even necessarily the most unhealthy form of litter, but this is where it starts. When you're already throwing your used-up smokes on the ground, why not an empty Doritos bag as well?

  • Dzt 30 year resident

    I have a bit of dirt/weeds behind my garage, and it seems to be a constant magnet for people dumping their car ashtrays. I hate hate hate having to clean that up all the time, along with other discarded items, but I do.

  • Thanks MK and others for your ideas and enthusiasm! Agree that a long-term, multi-pronged approach is best. We use those strategies to visit businesses every week and constantly tell them to clean up their sidewalks and storefronts, and it's great to hear community members wanting to get Lawrence cleaned up - like we do.

    At the Chamber - and North River Commission who we're connected to - we have planning sessions including one for the commercial district - where community stakeholders come around the same table to voice their desires for the neighborhood. And they roll up their sleeves and pitch in to make those visions a reality. The next time the NRC Membership Council meets is Tuesday, December 6th (I'll let you know the exact meeting location asap).

    Because of limited resources, we rely very heavily on volunteers for clean-ups. If we organize a clean-up this month on Lawrence & Kedzie and get local businesses and the 33rd Ward involved, are there people here willing to meet up on a weekend and pitch in to clean-up for a few hours?

  • We are working hard to make Lawrence & Kedzie a healthy commercial district, and renovating storefronts is a really important part of that strategy.

    Most recently, we worked with Chica's Secret at Sawyer/Lawrence and got them a $67,000 grant from the TIF fund (Small Business Improvement Fund) for their complete interior/exterior renovation. Because of that grant, the business owner invested another $150,000 into the rest of the building. Now there's a new State Farm Agency and space for another high quality business. Plus we put new awnings on Lawrence-Kedzie Storage a few years ago, and now that whole block is looking great.

  • Jess M Parent and teacher

    APCC, I would strongly disagree that the "whole block is looking great"... simply because of the extensive litter problem. To be sure, the storefronts are great-looking and modern and an exciting addition to the neighborhood, but the litter and graffiti take all the beauty out of it, in my opinion.

    I would love to come to the December meeting. Thanks very much for the invitation! And as for a clean-up weekend.... Hell, yes! I can probably get a bunch of friends to help out as well, given enough notice. I even have my own little broom-and-bucket set! I'll bring some bags, too! However, I would only be available after 2 PM (Sat) and 12 PM (Sun) due to work and church. Anyone else?

  • Jess M Parent and teacher

    Catbus.... in regard to cigarette butts.... they are awfully gross, aren't they? But, as an ex-smoker, I can tell you that I never threw my butts in the garbage can because I was afraid that I would accidentally set the garbage can on fire. Even when 'extinguished', they sometimes have an ember in the center that will keep them burning for a few minutes. Not an excuse, I realize now. But those garbage cans with the ashtray on top were always helpful to me back then. However, we in AP are having a hard enough time just keeping the regular garbage cans around without requesting fancy ones, so I think we are outta luck on this one. However, I did just notice today that one of my favorite AP business people has put an ashtray outside her place of business. Go, Shamie!

    And I'm sorry for all the butts I threw on the street in my smoking days.

  • Bob Kastigar 15 Years North Park, bike rider, retired

    What's the first thing you notice?

    It's the litter and junk, not the new storefronts!

    Only after you clean up the foundation will you notice that the storefronts are cleaned up too.

  • MK long-time city girl & dog lover

    I will be at the December 6 meeting if it's in the evening. (I work downtown.) And give me the date/time of the Nov clean-up, and if there is any way I can be there, I absolutely will.

    Who do you know at either Streets & Sans for the 33rd Ward or the Ward office itself? I really want to find out how to get trash cans back on the various blocks and want confirmation they will be regularly emptied.

    And we really need to talk about the SSA issue. It's quite remarkable that Albany Park's is the only one in the city to be removed. Not exactly something to be proud of!

    Jess, thank you so much for your messages to the school principals and various LSC members. Anyone have a good contact at the Albany Park Community Center?

    Looking forward to working with everyone to make AP a more inviting place ...

  • Noel Valenzuela is the new 33rd Ward Superintendent. The ward's office for Streets & Sans is 3143 N. Rockwell Street, and the number is 312-744-1451. Noel just started about 2 months ago, replacing Pete LeBron. He is the one to connect to about trash cans, pick ups and street cleanings.

  • It's important to have a comprehensive strategy to keep the commercial district thriving.

    Agreed that we need to work together to keep the street clean, keep businesses engaged in that process, remove those eye sores that distract us from having a better shopping experience- and we'll keep renovating storefronts like we did on Noon O Kabab, and Tre Kronor and Lawrence Dental and Erie Family Health Services and Jaafer Sweets many others....

    I'm working now to organize the clean-up. Excited to see volunteers from here. Will have updates on a clean-up soon.

  • Bob Kastigar 15 Years North Park, bike rider, retired

    "Most recently, we worked with Chica's Secret at Sawyer/Lawrence and got them a $67,000 grant from the TIF fund (Small Business Improvement Fund) for their complete interior/exterior renovation."

    Great! Now how do we go about getting a grant for cleanup, litter removal, garbage can support and regular removal?

    Renovating storefronts seems like it would be costing a lot more money that keeping streets and sidewalks clean, and would be better money spent.

  • Inactive user

    Albany Park Chamber of Commerce - The renovated storefronts on Kedzie Avenue look great. I commend your efforts. I would also note that the western part of Lawrence between Pulaski and N. Central is in need of help as well. I saw that you mentioned Lawrence Dental; have you assisted other businesses along this stretch as well?

  • Bob Kastigar 15 Years North Park, bike rider, retired

    "Albany Park does not have the SSA. There used to be an SSA along Lawrence Avenue in the 1980s - it was SSA #6. It was only around for a short time until it was removed. To date it is the only SSA in the city to be removed. "

    Would the Albany Park Chamber of Commerce work to restore the Special Service Assessment for cleanup, litter and garbage pickup, and street cleaning in the area? To get business in the area to support, and pay for, this cleanup?

  • Lauren: Thanks! We're worked on Albany Park Auto Clinic, supported the West Albany Park Green Team's greening up the corner at Mayan Sol, installed the awning at Imax Video & completely renovated Washtown Laundry. Other SBIF renovations happened at Chicago Kalbi & the Chiropractor at Hamlin/Lawrence.

  • Bob: Love your passion for keeping the streets cleaned up!

    "Great! Now how do we go about getting a grant for cleanup, litter removal, garbage can support and regular removal?"

    We'd love your help and energy to work with us to find those dollars for clean-ups and litter removal. Are you willing to help us?

  • Jess M Parent and teacher

    APCC--- I know your comment was directed at Bob, but I would like to volunteer to help get SSA #6 reinstated. What can I do to help?

    BTW, I got one response to my email, from the chair of Edison's LSC. Which was... Our janitors handle that. I guess it was a little too much to ask. After all, few students at Edison are actually from AP, so why should those parents and LSC members care? Sad.

    Seems some of my email addresses were wrong though, so I'll keep trying.

  • Bob Kastigar 15 Years North Park, bike rider, retired

    I would be very willing to help out getting the business owners to reinstate SSA #6.

    My concern is that the residents are expected to keep their residential areas clean but the business owners aren't obligated to keep their business area clean or to pay for having it cleaned.

  • John Gonzalez want to do more about reducing crime in area

    From Pulaski to Kedzie I think Lawrence has more garbage than any business street on the northside of the the city. I was actually going to buy a condo close to Lawrence but smartly changed my mind. It's bad for business and bad for the ward that Lawrence is so filthy. The alderman should be involved in making sure there is less garbage and crime on Lawrence. I think it's part of her job.

  • chicago girl Resident in Portage park for over 38 years

    Like I mentioned before,it would be nice for the alderpersons to make an appearance in their wards.Look around and see what is going on and needs attention.You can't help your ward by sitting in your office and waiting for phone calls.

  • MK long-time city girl & dog lover

    Thanks for your ongoing efforts with the schools, Jess.

    Count me in to work on getting SSA #6 back. APCC, what can we do on this front to help?

    On Friday I tried calling 33rd Ward Streets & Sans about garbage cans, but the phone rang off the hook. I have to say I only tried once, so maybe it was just bad timing. I then posted a msg on their facebook page. (I am not a big fan of facebook, but I decided to try since it looked like there was an interactive dialogue between Streets & Sans and neighborhood residents with specific requests.) FYI, I asked for cans at Wilson & Troy, Albany & Sunnyside and Wilson & Kimball. Driving around a small area of AP, I did find more cans than I expected, with quite a few on Lawrence. Too bad Lawrence is still such a pit - just plain depressing to drive through. Anyway, I'll report back here if I get a response to my request.

  • AlbanyParkMom 14-year resident

    I think the Streets and San office closes by 1 or 2pm.

  • Thanks for all the responses about an SSA and neighborhood clean-ups. I think the Dec 6th NRC Membership Council meeting will be a great place to sit down and talk about this and other ideas in further detail.

    And if you don't already attend the 33rd Ward Advisory Council meetings, you should. It's an important place to talk with neighbors about what's going on in the ward, and talk to Ald. Mell and his staff about your concerns/issues.

  • Now let's organize a Lawrence Avenue Clean-Up!

    Next Saturday, November 19th from 2-4pm. Picking up trash, cleaning the sidewalks & side street stubs along Lawrence between Kimball to Kedzie.

    Tell your friends, bring your neighbors & kids!

    The Albany Park Chamber of Commerce will engage the businesses - flyer them, tell them about it and hope to see them outside, too! And you should mention it to your favorite businesses along Lawrence Ave, too!

    Meet at the Albany Park Chamber / NRC office 3403 W. Lawrence Ave, Suite 201 at 2pm. We have gloves for everyone. We are working with 33rd Ward Streets & Sans to get supplies for the clean-up. If you have brooms or garbage bags, please bring them!

    RSVP to me, Liz, here or call me (773) 478-0202 ext. 116.

  • AlbanyParkMom 14-year resident

    What about the 39th ward part of Lawrence? Our ward is filthy, too.

  • Cp-Albany Park Filmmaker, Mother, Wife, SuperWoman!


  • Just a heads-up: Crews from the 33rd Ward are hand cleaning Lawrence Ave from the Chicago River west to Lawndale, and are cleaning the Kimball CTA station today/this weekend. Big thanks to Noel, Chuckie and the crews!

    We are also working with Tony LaPash and his crew at the 39th Ward Streets & Sans to coordinate with the clean-up next Saturday.

  • loraine t washington 5 yr. resident

    i know exactly where you are. i hope i am in your ward.

  • Cp-Albany Park Filmmaker, Mother, Wife, SuperWoman!

    This morning as I was walking back from dropping my children at school I saw that there was a school bus on the corner of Kedzie and Leland. There were four people cleaning and picking up garbage making that corner look good. I wonder if it had to do anything with this whole cleanup thing? Anyways it felt good to see that these people are helping. Although it seemed to me they were people that were served with community service through the state of Illinois.

    Oh well the point is that they have cleaned.

    OH!!! is there a way to make posters or just signs that might promote a cleaner neighborhood? Something to continue reminding people that they should use the "GARBAGE CAN" or something for that matter?

    Just want to know it be nice to have one or start one.

  • amekami77 amekami77

    I wondered too. Because adding more trash cans is a great idea, but if we don't educate/encourage people to be proud and thankful for the neighborhoods we live in and use the trash cans, adding more trash cans could end up being a "waste".

  • Jess M Parent and teacher

    I, too, have noticed a cleaner neighborhood! I think getting "squeaky" is getting us some "grease"! Hooray! Let's not stop now... keep it going!

    I'm still working on a partnership with the schools, despite one dead-end. Stay tuned!

    I don't know about posters, but I'm going to make a T-shirt to wear next Saturday with "I love a Clean Albany Park" on it. I have noticed people watching me as I clean up around my house and the schools. I sincerely hope they are getting the message!

  • John Gonzalez want to do more about reducing crime in area

    I think that keeping CTA stations and Lawrence clean sets the tone for the rest of Albany Park to be clean. It is a great place to start and have it spread to other areas. If more people get aware of keeping Albany Park clean, I am sure more people will want to do their part. It's important to keep the momentum going...

  • Weather for this Saturday's clean-up looks okay - a few showers here & there, but that shouldn't stop us.

    We need to tell 33rd Ward S&S how many tools to bring us - Who is coming this Saturday?

  • IrvWoodsMom Irving Woods Resident

    I will be there from 2 until 3.

  • Jess M Parent and teacher

    I will be there! But--- the 33rd? The 33rd has done quite a bit for the neighborhood over the last two weeks. (I'm sure in part to our discussions here.). Where the heck is the 39th??

    Also, wanted to let you all know that I saw the proprietor of Eagle 99 Cent store out sweeping the sidewalk this morning. He wasn't doing the greatest job... Essentially just sweeping stuff into the gutter.... But he was doing it! I thanked him. I hope you all will also plan on thanking anyone who you see cleaning up. A nice pat on the back can do wonders!

    Finally, I have noticed that I'm picking up a lot of liquor bottles and cans in the mornings, which means there is a lot of public drinking going on overnight. I'm going to bring that up at the next 1713 CAPS meeting. Anyone know when/where that is?

  • Tony LaPash the Supervisor of 39th Ward S&S is working on this clean up, too! Their crews are going to pick up trash bags after our clean up and they know about it and support it.

    Also, both 39th & 33rd ward street sweepers are out four days a week on Lawrence in the mornings and both crews clean both sides of the street.

  • chicago girl Resident in Portage park for over 38 years

    I wonder why certain neighborhoods or areas have permanant street cleaning signs.Which means they get cleaned by a sweeper once a week.I know most of the street get cleaned around my block about 4 times a year or so.My last one for the year was last week.Since there are still trees with leaves on them,these leaves sit there all year till late spring.Most people don't clean them up.Then when it rains or snows ,the drains are clogged with leaves all year and the water just causes ice to sit there,besides looking dirt and depressing looking until spring.My husband usually gets stuck going out there and cleaning everything up even though it's not in front of or home.

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