News

Street cleaning site created to help people avoid tickets

Peter Malkin and Dan Moja created the street cleaning sites and apps, which include one for Berkeley

Helping people avoid getting ticketed on street cleaning days was clearly a form of therapy for Dan Moja, co-creator of a series of city websites that pinpoint cleaning schedules down to specific streets. “I cannot tell you how absolutely angry I was when I got towed for the third time,” he says. “Each time we launch a new site, I slowly gain a little bit of satisfaction.”

Moja lives in Chicago. Back in 2010, his car was ticketed and towed three times in three weeks due to street cleaning, a frustrating experience which set him back hundreds of dollar). “I was so upset over the towings and fines that I sold my car and it ultimately led me to want to create a website which helps people avoid street sweeping tickets,” he says.

Moja researched the field and found Peter Malkin, creator of the San Francisco Street Cleaning website. Mojo contacted Malkin and explained how he wanted to bring his website to Chicago. This led the pair to form a partnership which has seen them roll out sites for Chicago, San Diego, Phoenix, and, now, Berkeley.

To find out about street cleaning times, users of the Berkeley site can either drag the pin on the Google map to their street address, or type it into a search box. Opposite sides of the street are usually swept on different days, which is reflected in the information. While many neighborhoods are covered, there are gaps in the data as the site is still under development. The site allows users to submit information and feedback, and offers a forum for discussion.

The service is free and there is a version available as an app for Android phones with one on the way for iPhones. Moja says the goal is to add more bells and whistles to the tool, such as email/text message alerts when you register your address, and to expand to as many cities as possible.

The city of Berkeley provides information on street cleaning on its website, with schedules listed alphabetically by street name.

A link to Berkeley Street Cleaning website is included in our Berkeley Sites list in the right column of  the Berkeleyside home page.

Related:
Call for more alerts and fewer tickets on street sweeping [10.25.11]

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  • http://twitter.com/kinglet749 kinglet749

    This has been only about 15 years in coming. Huge thank you to the person with the wherewithal to actually make this happen.

  • Koffenut1

    I set custom alarms, recurring, on my iphone for my street side and the opposite side.  Goes off 15 minutes before the street sweeping period. Haven’t gotten a ticket since, and I’ve actually saved some neighbors as well.

  • Cat

    Aren’t there signs on each block? Sometimes old tech really does work.

  • AnthonySanchez

    I’m glad to see this finally happen. We tried to get the City to do this or at least encourage a private party to take this up.

  • AnthonySanchez

    Yes, but the City is notorious for placing signs with revenue generation implications with minimal size and conspicuity. All street sweeping signs are addendum to a cluster of other signs. Most people can and do see and heed all the posted signs. But more often than not due to design, incidental or purposeful, many only read the more immediately relevant hourly restrictions, etc., failing to see street sweeping sign.

    I’m a believer that when people have the right information, they would happily avoid such tickets. But since tickets are issued, it indicates that we don’t do a good enough to ensure people can in good faith abide by parking regulations.

  • John Holland

    Exactly the same here. Seems like this conversation has happened before here on Berkeleyside!

  • Mary

    Who needs it?  All one has to do is remember to check the signs.

  • Tim

    if you want to see the city’s draconian  action in play, go to the 1800 block of Oxford at 3:55PM and watch them get ready to ticket the cars with the tow truck right behind the meter person…4-6PM tow away zone.

  • Just Wondering

     you never answered – do you reside in berkeley?

  • Johnny

     Sure, but you have to put your pants on and step outside to use the oldschool tech

  • Anonymous

     I’m glad the city didn’t listen to whoever this “we” is. Having the city spend money on this would be nearly as absurd as buying radar detectors for drivers so they could avoid speeding tickets.

  • AnthonySanchez

    The direction was for the city to partner with the university and provide various types of data streams (such as tow-away zones, etc.) so something like this and more could be developed. That’s far different than spending tons of money to develop a program such as this ourselves. 

    Like I said, I am happy to see a private party take this up themselves. People don’t like to be surprised with tickets and tows when admittedly those are, theoretically, not the ends in and of themselves.

  • AnthonySanchez

    Indeed. And the recurring alarms is a nice and simple solution for residents of a block. But it doesn’t work well for someone traveling across town and parking in a different district where sweeping times are different.

  • Guest

    why don’t you do this in the city you actually live in instead of wasting our money

  • AnthonySanchez

    I apologize if I have offended in any way. I don’t know who you are and why you feel the need to somehow discredit me rather than my words and ideas.

    And I choose not to dignify your accusation with a confirmation or a denial.

    If you’d like to have an actual dialogue, I by all means welcome it.

    Again, I am sorry if I have done something wrong to you.

  • Anonymous

     Whew, that copy of Frankfurt’s _On_Bullshit_ can’t get here fast enough.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ivan-Chen/515140232 Ivan Chen

    Hey if idiots park their cars there it makes for great revenue

  • guest

    Unfortunately they need to open up the lane so they have no choice but to move the cars blocking the lane.  This is common practice in many streets during rush hour.  If cars are blocking the lanes, traffic can’t get through.  The signs are clearly posted so car owners need to move their vehicles.  I was towed once many years ago because I was young and new to the area and didn’t take the signs seriously and I quickly learned my lesson.

  • S. Solomon

    I cannot believe some people are being sarcastic and ungrateful for a simple offer to help. I live on Bancroft with Roosevelt as the cross street, and you wouldn’t believe the bloodbath of ticketing that occurs regularly here, where so many people do not have driveway parking. If the first street cleaning day of the new month is Monday, everyone gets clued in, but if not, or there’s a holiday, there are always four or five cars ticketed on one or the other streets. Every month there is usually at least one car on each street that gets it. On the day after Halloween, for some weird reason, no one moved their cars, like some kind of collective psychosis. Hey- I realize people should know, but everyone takes turns being stupid once in a while, and if someone wants to help us, thank god for that. 

  • S.Solomon

    Geez AnthonyS – you did nothing wrong. Thanks for caring. Street cleaning is obviously a dreadful pain in the rear end.

  • Rachel Holmen

    I pound on neighbors’ doors before 9 am on street cleaning days, when I see their cars in vulnerable locations.  They have also reminded me on occasion. 

  • PragmaticProgressive

    I’d be supportive of this if it could be shown that we’d realize a save in staffing costs by building out the data streams.  So I agree that the end goal here is clean streets.  If we can achieve that by investing in (relatively) cheap IT infrastructure and firing (relatively) expensive meter maids, we should do that.  

    In my experience, however, it is quite rare for middle managers to deliver those saves without being managed to that objective themselves.  Losing headcount is a terrible problem for most managers, even if it’s the right thing to do for the larger organization.

    Having said that, I’d also be supportive of retaining the meter maids if they could turn their attention to other violations, such as the 72 hour rule. Prime parking spots in my neighborhood go to rustbuckets and large  recreational vehicles that only seem to move when it’s street cleaning time.  But that rule is only enforced if you call it in, and only selectively at that.  

  • PragmaticProgressive

    For what it’s worth, as the person who posed the original question about where you live, I am happy to see a dedicated civil servant thinking creatively about how to serve constituents.  And so I welcome your engagement on this issue.

    By contrast, in the other thread, my question was specifically directed at what I perceived to be a moral imposition by a non-stakeholder.In other words, if there’s an objective — such as clean streets — that the citizens of Berkeley have agreed to pursue, I welcome creative approaches from all quarters.  But as to setting the priorities and policies in our community, especially where loaded judgments are in play, I would like our community to decide that for itself.  Questions of morality and ethics are seldom binary decisions and those of us who live, pay taxes, and need to feel secure in our homes in Berkeley have to weigh factors that folks who live elsewhere are less concerned with.  In short, I do not want to live in a theme park to someone else’s idealism, however noble.  

  • Eric Westby

    What a shock: those posting with their real names are thoughtful and mature, while those who post as “Anonymous” and “Guest” are snide and unhelpful.

    Hey, “Guest,” if you enjoy insulting people so much, have the stones to do it with your real name. Your taunting debases this forum either way, but at least that would show you’re not a coward.

  • The Sharkey

    I wonder what parts of the city generate the most tickets… Is this data accessible online somewhere?

  • Hillbilly

    It’s not up and running…..I have been getting text messages from towminder.com for several years.  It’s free and easy to set up. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/rostam.ali.961 Rostam Ali

     
    Street sweeping map of the city of Chicago

    Avoid City of Chicago street sweeping tickets and towings.
    Find out the next time your street will be cleaned to avoid these tickets.
    To avoid street sweeping tickets, go to http://www.chicagostreetcleaning.com/

  • Marvin 6996

     Cleaning is very necessary for our surroundings. It makes us happy for the whole day and also motivates us in our work. As a result we may do some better than expectations. street clean –

    http://www.theroadcleaners.com/

  • http://twitter.com/Irmtraut Dora Zoerb

    I moved to Portland, OR and they sweep the streets once per year in November after the leaves have fallen off trees.