The Marquis nudges, and SEPTA budges

SEPTA-ownedsectionof a West Philly lot was a mess (below) until the Marquis got it cleaned up (above). PHOTOS: PHILLIP LUCAS, DAILY NEWS STAFF
SEPTA-ownedsectionof a West Philly lot was a mess (below) until the Marquis got it cleaned up (above). PHOTOS: PHILLIP LUCAS, DAILY NEWS STAFF
Posted: May 09, 2012

A CALL to the Marquis was all it took for Edward Williams, of West Philadelphia, to see a vacant lot on Filbert Street near Salford transform from nasty to classy after years of neighbors dumping everything from dirty diapers to used tires there.

Half of the lot closer to Salford Street is used as a parking lot by the Philadelphia Parking Authority. The other half — which is owned by SEPTA — was an unpaved, overgrown atrocity that hosted teetering towers of tires and mounds of trash.

Williams, who lives near the lot, told the Marquis that calls to the city and to SEPTA got him nowhere as piles of trash continued accumulating.

“It’s been a problem for quite a while,” Williams said. “The neighbors are complaining about it, and I’ve called and complained about it because it’s an eyesore.”

Williams said he called SEPTA and was told by a customer-service representative that the Parking Authority, not SEPTA, owns the lot — despite city property records indicating that SEPTA has owned the space since May 2005.

When the Marquis called SEPTA about the lot, Kristin Geiger, a press officer, said the agency would get rid of the trash and would find ways to keep people from dumping there in the future.

“We rely a lot on the community to help us out in that way. We can’t be at these spots every single day. They are our eyes and our ears,” Geiger said. “We don’t want to just have them think we don’t care, because we do.”

The piles of trash were removed and signs were installed prohibiting trespassing and parking on SEPTA’s half. Geiger said the agency was considering installing fencing around its side of the lot to keep litterbugs at bay.

WE CLEANED UP! More than 12,000 volunteers helped remove about a million pounds of trash and other debris from the city’s streets during the fifth annual Philly Spring Cleanup last month. But despite the record-breaking effort, trash already seems to be back with a vengeance in some areas — including the Kingsessing Recreation Center, where the April 14 event kicked off with performances and with a speech from Mayor Nutter.

A few paper cups, takeout containers and three bulging black trash bags lined the fence of the rec center when the Marquis visited Wednesday.The real tragedy was on the other side of the fence, where a pile of garbage caked the base of a tree next to a half-empty plastic garbage bin.

Come on, people! Now you have the Marquis all upset. n

If you’re fed up with litter and want to talk trash, email the Marquis at trash@phillynews.com, or find his page on Facebook.

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