48°Partly Cloudy

County Wants Citizens to ‘Adopt a Street’

by ARLnow.com June 21, 2011 at 11:40 am 3,591 50 Comments

It’s sort of like the “Adopt-a-Highway” program, but without the corresponding road signs.

Arlington has launched an “Adopt-a-Street” program that allows civic-minded residents and organizations to commit to picking up litter and debris along a road of their choosing. After signing up, volunteers receive safety and cleaning supplies, a five gallon collection bucket and scheduled pickups of collected debris.

Adopters are asked to perform their cleaning duties on a quarterly or as-needed basis, with a minimum one year commitment.

The program, which is run by the county’s Solid Waste Bureau, is intended to reduce storm water pollution in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed with minimal cost to taxpayers. Supplies for the program have been purchased through sponsorships, the county says.

  • brendan

    sometimes the headlines here read kind of like simcity – citizens always wanting something…

    • brendan

      not that there’s anything wrong with that…There are inherent limits to local news headlines.

      And ARLnow is several grades better than TBD which combines crappy reporting w/ sensationalized, misleading or just flat out stupid headlines. BTW… anyone know how many staffers TBD has post slaughter? They only get about 4x the traffic of arlnow but cover a much wider area and probably have 25x the staff. Pretty poor ROIT for Albritton.

  • Thomas Carlyle

    Reminds me of the old headline in The Onion: “Stretch of Highway Learns It Was Adopted.”

  • Rick

    I hope whomever adopts williamsburg boulevard up by glebe owns a paving company

    • brendan


  • Part of the reason for signage is to recognize the group performing the charity work. I wonder why Arlington doesn’t want to recognize them publicly?

    • G

      Because that would involve signs, and we all know how controversial those are!

      • Yep. But, the signs don’t have to be all that big.

        • ConstantCritic

          and somebody would want a sign made out of granite, but the county only $12,000 budgeted for that …. 🙁

    • John Fontain

      Probably to avoid signs such as “This parking lot was cleaned out courtesy of the super fantastic Advanced Towing crew.”

      Besides, if you clean a street to get your name on a sign, aren’t you “volunteering” for the wrong reason?

      • Then the sign can read “anonymous”. If a business is going to pony up money to clean the street, why not let them have eight square inches of sign space recognizing that?

        • John Fontain

          Why waste the money on a sign saying anonymous if the volunteer doesn’t want their name on a sign?

    • Don Ager

      And a huge part of the success of the Adopt-A-Highway program nationwide is due to the recognition the signs provide. I predict this program won’t take off until the county adds public recognition to the formula.
      And yes people should do things for the sake of doing things, however organizations need new members to stay active and the free advertising provided by the Adopt-A-Highway program helps organizations get their name out there to the public to help with name recognition and recruiitment.

    • Clarendude

      Putting a name on a sign also imparts a bit of pressure on the “volunteer” to make good on their promise to pick up litter. If you get a little slack and litter builds up the name on the sign would be a little embarassing.

  • MC 703

    That intersection looks adopted

    • CW

      Whoever adopts that intersection is going to have to spend a lot of time cleaning up shattered glass, car parts, mangled bicycles, limbs, dead bodies, etc. because that intersection is dangerous as can be!! Lived a block away for 18 months and never stopped hating it. The through traffic, the views obstructed by parked cars, the double crosswalks, all of it…as a pedestrian, cyclist, runner, and driver, I collectively hated it!!

      Just look at the delivery car – he’s too busy staring at the camera to know he’s about to get smacked by that jeep going 60 mph down quincy trying to catch the green light at fairfax while texting and eating froyo. Or that he’s about to run over 2 pedestrians who will jump out from between parked cars trying to cross 9th over to the Chinese place.

      • PhilL

        Didn’t somebody jump out of a building near there too?

        • CW

          I believe it was a block west on 9th on the north side, near the insurance place and the perpetual, planted christmas tree.

          • Rick

            Actually the impact zone isn’t far out of camera range, it was in front of the minuteman press. I spend a lot of time in that area and that intersection isn’t too hard to navigate. it’s sad how few speed traps are run on quincy, I see metermaids every day and cops once a month

  • I think all the kids who don’t have any homework should be out cleaning the streets. They need to contribute to society one way or the other.

  • JamesE

    Could we remove the homeless around Ballston metro peeing on the sidewalk?

    • CW

      that’s crazy talk

    • HaulinOats

      +1. When did the stretch of Fairfax between Glebe and the Metro become such a urine-encrusted trash heap? It seems a lot worse lately, much more urine-y and much more empty beer can-y. And now typing that out it now occurs to me that there may be a relationship there…

    • South Arlington

      I miss KalashniKEV, this would be a prime time for him to bring up the Courthouse “bum invasion”.

      • CW

        How do you know he’s gone?

      • mehoo

        After I posted the news item about homeless veterans, he had to go pick up the pieces of his exploded head.

  • Chris

    Sounds like the County is hoping that volunteers will carry out a community care function that should be done by county staff/contractors and/or by local residents taking pride in their neighborhood. As such, it reminds me of the snowblower program.

    And if this works as well as the snowblower program, we can be sure to not notice a single difference in the quality of our streets … 😉

    • Don Ager

      Disagree…the snowblower program is excellent. I’m part of it and with the program I and my neighbors who help out are able to remove the snow from our sidewalk plus we remove the snow from the streets surrounding our block, especially along the path the students walk to school. This helps us to systemically remove more snow from more of our elderly neighbors walkways and clear a safe path for our students. without the snowblower program we would only be able to take care of our own vicinity plus one or two elderly neighbors. Now we are able to take care of all of them.

  • Westover Leftover

    Just don’t try to remove illegal signs or the litter caused by them.
    This is extracted from an e-mail inquiry sent to Chairman Zimmerman last March:
    In addition to concerns with the signage located at 2121 Westmoreland Street you also posed several questions in your February 21, 2011 email to Chairman Christopher Zimmerman. Staff would like to address your questions as follows:
    Q: “Citizens are prohibited from removing illegal signs; one must ask at what point do these illegal signs become trash?”
    A: As the consideration of something as “trash” is most times subjective, we can not provide advice as to the point at which someone’s personal property including signage becomes trash.
    Q: “May a citizen remove them [signs] when they have been blown off the sticks?”
    A: In consideration of the safety and well being of Arlington County residents we do not encourage citizens becoming involved with the removal of wooden stakes and/or signs whether posted or lying on the ground. Signs of this type (attached to wooden stakes) are most times located in the Public Right of Way and are in close proximity to vehicular traffic. Also, at times signs may be located on private property and the removal of said signs and/or wooden stakes by citizens or county staff may constitute an act of illegal trespassing. As such county staff is in the best position to address and/or remove said signs using appropriate, safe and legal measures.
    Q: “May citizens remove the sticks during the week?”
    A: Please refer to previous response as noted above.

  • PikerGirl

    I guess if you want clean sidewalks, you have to volunteer and pick up the trash yourself. I was dismayed today to watch a guy with a leaf blower blowing off the sidewalk along Columbia Pike by Magnolia Commons property. Basically, he was just blowing around all the litter which was then resettling on the narrow grass strip along the sidewalk. The other side is a very steep uphill grade so anything blown up there just falls back down to the sidewalk. Would be much nicer if he were hired to pick up the litter rather than blowing it around as well as just redistributing all the dust from the sidewalk.

  • (another) Greg

    Not to be callous, but once upon a time, this was work for prisoners.

    • cleaner

      This is nothing new. Citizen volunteers have been keeping streets clean for decades. There’s the adopt-a-street program, and the County has also had a volunteer corps that cleans up streams and parks for many years. Look at the “big event” coming to Bluemont – that apparently has a volunteer cleanup component.

    • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

      +1 here. The county jail is full of people who should be working off their free meal and bed, while awaiting trial or transfer. Bring back the chain gang!

    • Jack

      Prisoners have more rights that you do now

  • charlie

    everyone should clean up their street. and not get a sign. or a bucket. or instructions. and those big developers should clean up their streets too.
    what is so hard to understand?

    • Great point. Better yet, how about not throwing your trash out the window of your car? I swear, if one more person throws a cigarette butt at me I’m going to explode. Let’s step up the pollution ticket revenue ACPD…..

      • BlueSkies

        Agreed with Charlie and Overgrown Bush. And it says to clean up quarterly or as needed – I can’t imagine quarterly being anywhere near enough. But if folks didn’t litter in the first place, we wouldn’t have this problem.

  • Burger

    Wait…wait, I think I saw this before. It was an episode of Seinfeld when Kramer adopted a highway and changed the lanes from 4 to “two lane comfort cruise”

    • Hmm

      +10 Classic episode

  • Henry Spencer

    I’ll do it if I can start charging a toll.

  • Joe

    More from the same nitwits that don’t want anyone to use their cars. Gawd, what a mess this county board is.

    • doodly

      This is a good idea. It is used in communities nationwide. You’re just a partisan hack. It’s lame.

  • APSnumberone

    How about a public service announcement blitz to get folks to not litter in the first place? I am tired of picking beer bottles out of my hedges and from the curb in front of my house a few blocks from Ballston.

  • soarlslacker

    DES is a bit slow in delivering buckets, vests, and whatever. I signed up in Jan 2010 and I am still waiting. The weird thing is no broom, buy your own broom. I would think that many Arl residents don’t drive and a big old push broom is something that I haven’t seen at the local grocery stores.
    Signs cost money. Arl Cty would rather repave courts or re-astroturf the same fields every year. It is not like the money is being spent on the local libraries.

    • Kristen

      Thank you for Adopting a street in Arlington! I’m sorry to hear that you have not received a bucket. Please contact me so that we see it that you receive your supplies. I can be reached at 703.228.6570 or [email protected].

      Thanks again for your support!

  • Jack

    How about all thought meter maids picking up trash while they write tickets?

  • LitterPatrol

    Street Adopted. Anxiously awaiting my 5 gallon bucket and data collection tools. Won’t hold my breath.

    I wonder if the Days Inn on Columbia Pike could be persuaded to adopt their street. There’s a 5 inch accumulation of trash in that gutter.

    • Kristen

      Thank you for Adopting a street in Arlington County! You will get a bucket as part of the program, but it will take a few days because we hand deliver them.

      We will send one of our litter crew members out tomorrow to check on the Days Inn on Columbia Pike that you mention.

      Please feel free to call me at 703.228.6570 or email at [email protected] if you have any additional questions.

  • BoredHouseWife

    I was going to sign up until I read “TO RELEASE the County from any and all liability for any loss, damage, injury or expense that I may suffer or that my next of kin may suffer as a result of participating in the Adopt-A-Street program due to any cause whatsoever.”

    I know a few bored drama queens.

  • Mr. Neutron

    why should I want to adopt a street and clean it up myself when the County Board has relentlessly raised my property taxes for the past 10+ yrs.?

    I’m paying the County to clean up.


Subscribe to our mailing list