Street sweeping has been back since Monday. (Photo: Department of Public Works)

Street cleaning began Monday, with the Public Works Department once again sending street sweepers on their regular routes. What’s different since the coronavirus lockdown is that residents aren’t required to move their cars until July 1, though an email from city officials says “it would appreciated if they did.”

That means no tickets and no towing if you don’t relocate a vehicle for when sweepers come through, but it also means streets aren’t getting quite as cleared of the leaves and other organic material that can drop into storm drains, releasing phosphorous and nitrogen that pollutes the Charles River and Alewife Brook. (The leaves can also block drains, resulting in flooding.)

“All of the trash and leaves still litter the gutters,” said Tim Stein of Tremont Street, which cuts through Inman Square and the Wellington-Harrington neighborhood. But it’s a problem with a neighborly solution: On Wednesday, some Tremont Street residents went out with rakes to pull leaves and trash into the middle of the street so a sweeper could pick it up. They planned to do the same the next day on the other side of the street, Stein said.

He hoped residents on other streets would join in until July comes.

Officials, though they explained the importance online alongside the sweeping schedule, were prepared to ride out the situation through until July.

“The last thing we want to do right now is give someone an extra ticket and a tow,” City Manager Louis A. DePasquale said Monday, explaining that official were nervous that residents didn’t have enough warning for the actions to be fair.

“We were thinking about towing on June 1, but [realized] we need to get all that information out,” DePasquale said. “I’m going to take another month to get the information out and make people aware … However, we do need it come July 1.”