History of Fort Hill, Part 2 (2008). Mural by: Loray McDuffie, Taylor Saintable, Edwin Perez-Clancy, Christine O'Connell, Julia Andreasson, Jorge Benitez, Divah Payne, Lucy Saintcyr, Laua Dedonato, Gregg Bernstein.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Urban Amenities: Clean Streets

The weather warms, the snow is long gone, and folk are out puttering in their yards, beginning the slow preparation for spring. It's not unusual to to be slightly appalled at the urban trash and litter left behind by the receding winter and snow.

The ubiquitous plastic bags, the fast food containers, cigarette packages, wind-blown paper and cardboard, soda cups, and beverage containers, all moldering in a fecund, smelly matrix of decaying leaves.

It is the city, after all, and it's hard to keep on top of things, when the wind howls and the snow sleets against the face. So, when the weather begins to relent, a couple of hours raking, scraping, and sweeping outside, a little industry, and the front of the property is presentable again.

But, what about the back of the property? Do property owners feel responsible for the back of their parcels?

On Roxbury Street, in two cases, the answer seems to be no.

The Louis Prang House and the old firehouse on Centre Street are reasonably well-kempt.

But, these parcels front both Centre Street and Roxbury Street. In contrast to the clean sidewalks on Centre Street, these property owners permit disgusting conditions on Roxbury Street, to the point where the sidewalk isn't really passable.

The City of Boston and the Prang Estates Associates are the responsible owners of 27 and 29 Centre Street. Perhaps as part of their spring cleaning, they will cast an eye on their Roxbury Street frontage and clean their act up.

The Cruz Management Company claims Prang Estates and Prang House as part of their management portfolio. The tidy bit of landscaping depicted at the right is just around the corner from the trash in the three photographs above.

It wouldn't take too much effort for Cruz to extend its perimeter of concern from merely in front of their office entrance to just up Roxbury Street. With our new neighbors in the mosque and the new Ashur Restaurant taking reasonably good care of their property, it would seem to be the neighborly thing to do.

There is one more point: Roxbury Street, from John Eliot Square to Elmwood Street, is heavily parked by commuters. If we don't show respect for our environs, keeping our streets clean, then the commuters won't either. It is a struggle on Gardner Street, with commuters dumping trash out of their vehicles, but the battle, so far, is totally lost on Roxbury Street.


  1. Every so often, I go clean up the corner of Centre St and Highland Ave, by the milestone. I have no idea whose responsibility that actually is, but it gets trashed out regularly.

    It's the "broken window" theory in action, of course; one person drops their Big Gulp cup and then it snowballs into a tiny landfill.

    (Mixed metaphor FTW?)

  2. Thanks, Fiddler, for working to keep the area around the milestone clean. There was a gentleman on Centre Street years ago who nicely landscaped that strip with deep purple azaleas and evergreens.

    The area around the milestone was my first choice for this post, with the Makita drill box, the discarded automobile tire, and the wash of stones from the path up to Linwood Square. But, the digusting mess on Roxbury street was, can I say, more photogenic.