One facet of urban life that few of us give much thought to in daily life is the benefits of street sweeping. They are many. In fact, San Francisco street sweepers play a role in keeping us safe, healthy, mobile and free of expensive vehicle repair bills. Here are just a few examples in no particular order.
They Keep Pedestrians, Runners and Cyclists Safe
Have you ever tried to navigate a road, path or sidewalk where there was debris obstructing your travel? It is not only inconvenient, it is dangerous. The street sweeper clears that debris and opens up pathways for walking, running and bicycling.
Street gutters collect debris. Some of that debris, such as construction waste, can pose a hazard to the public. Originally, clearing debris off of roadways was the main reason for street sweeping. Getting rid of debris removes obstacles that vehicles can hit, skid on or run over as well as makes it safer for pedestrians to traverse sidewalks and roadways.
You might not think of it, but all that debris that collects after a storm ends up running off somewhere if it is not picked up. Left unchecked, that debris can clog storm drains and lead to incidental flooding, which can cause major traffic headaches, stall vehicles and even pose a danger to those who have to exit a stalled vehicle.
Less Vehicle Damage
When your vehicle runs over debris, there is a good chance nothing happens. If, however, there are nails in that debris you could get a flat. If there is metal, belts could get cut and bumpers punctured. If the debris is large enough, it can damage the shell of your vehicle. Any branches, poles or sticks can leave deep scratches. You get the point. Clearing debris is just one way the City can ensure your vehicle does not experience damage.
If you have ever watched a crow negotiate traffic in order to feast on roadkill, you undoubtedly are amazed at how good they are at avoiding traffic. Deer, bear, raccoons, coyote, domestic dogs, cats and other wildlife are not nearly as adept. Street sweeping clears up debris that they can feed on or might find interesting to take home for nesting.
San Francisco street sweepers work hard to keep our streets clean of dust, dirt and debris. While the most obvious benefit is having streets that are clean and a city that is beautiful, there are many other important functions street sweeping plays.