This public-private coalition is trying a new approach to litter control on 52nd street - Generocity Philly

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Dec. 22, 2015 8:00 am

This public-private coalition is trying a new approach to litter control on 52nd street

Three words: artisan trash cans.

Trash cans sculpted by Traction in West Philly.

(Courtesy photo)

Every day, more than 10,000 people travel 52nd Street’s commercial corridor — often considered the “Main Street” of West Philly.

When the traditional Bigbelly trash cans that pepper the corridor’s intersections fail to catch the litter left behind by those travelers, it’s the folks in transitional housing at Ready, Willing & Able who, six days of the week, are out there picking it up. 

They’re the ones who know the street’s points of weakness — the spots where hordes of 52nd Street passers-by leave the most litter. So, when the 52nd Street Initiative was contemplating where to position more trash cans, they naturally sought Ready, Willing & Able‘s counsel. 

That’s the way things work within the partnership, which loops in several public and private agencies including Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell‘s office, 52nd Street Vendors Association, The Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, 52nd Street Development Corporation and The Enterprise Center Community Development Corporation (TEC-CDC)

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The commercial corridor wanted more than just a couple extra Bigbelly cans. They approached the litter problem as an opportunity to further beautify the street. So, using funds from a 2014 Department of Commerce grant, TEC-CDC commissioned seven artisan trashcans from sculptors at the Traction Company

“The star displayed in the can is also embedded in the side walk along 52nd Street which allowed us to tie the areas rich history into its bright future,” said TEC-CDC’s 52nd Street Commercial Corridor Manager Akeem Dixon. “This project illustrates how the community can work together with the city to address a problem together while residents get to benefit through jobs and a cleaner environment.”

Dixon said the trash cans, which will be placed along the street between 52nd and Spruce streets and 52nd and Arch streets after the New Year, are the first step in helping the community maintain a cleaner commercial corridor.

“Current businesses and long term residents will experience a cleaner corridor while also making the area attractive for new businesses that help to diversify the retail mix,” he said.

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