Long Ago People Swept the Street in Front of Their Property on Saturdays

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The Bureau of Street Services, shortened to StreetsLA, has a phenomenal history of their agency which reveals interesting facts about the growth of Los Angeles. History | Bureau of Street Services (lacity.org)

The City of Los Angeles was incorporated on April 4, 1850. From 1850 to 1878, the population increased from 1,150 to approximately 10,000. There were no graded streets, every citizen was his own sweeper. On Saturdays, residents swept and cleaned up the street in front of their property.

September 4, 1849 CS Bishop was issued U.S. Patent 6,699 for a mechanical street sweeper C.S. Bishop Credited With First Patent of a Street Sweeping Machine (worldsweeper.com) Prior to his invention streets were commonly cleaned by walking workers. While his sweeper was driven by a horse as it was not motorized, it was more efficient than a crew sweeping the streets by hand.

March 17, 1896 Charles Brooks of Newark, New Jersey, obtained a patent, 556, 711 for a street sweeping machine. Charles Brooks: African American Inventor (myblackhistory.net)

The Street Maintenance division of the BSS cites these statistics:

Management of 6500 centerline miles of roadway:

  • Metro region houses the bay harbor and north central maintenance areas
  • Valley region includes the east and west valley maintenance areas. Those service areas are each further divided into 6 maintenance districts, with each district maintaining over 300 centerline miles of city streets.

There are three types of cleaning routes.

  • Over 800 weekly restricted parking routes
  • Over 300 non-restricted routes
  • Over 100 Early A.M. routes

The website has a map of the routes. And an alternative link if your street is not on a scheduled route.

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There are more than 4,700 curb miles in Los Angeles where "No Parking" signs are posted to allow our sweepers to reach the curb, so we can clean the streets, keep trash out of our rivers and ocean, and prevent local flooding due to blocked storm drains.

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