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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?

  • 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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