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You always hear about the Streets Department…
now find out exactly what we do.

The Philadelphia Streets Department and the divisions within it are responsible for the City's vast network of streets and roadways. Included among our many duties are the ongoing collection and disposal of residential trash and recyclables, as well as the construction, cleanliness and maintenance of our entire street system. It's hard for the public to imagine all that goes into that general "job description," but here are some facts and figures to put things in perspective.

The Streets Department's mission is to provide clean, green, and safe streets in a cost-effective and efficient manner. The department delivers a number of City services that are critical to maintaining the public health and safety in our communities. These essential services include, but are not limited to, curbside trash and recycling collection, maintaining all traffic control devices and street lighting, the construction and maintenance of 320 bridges and 2,525 miles of streets and highways and snow and ice removal. 

The department is organized in three divisions:


The Administrative Division provides support services through several units: Administrative Services (Budget and Accounting), Human Resources, Information Services and Technology, and Planning and Public Affairs.


The Sanitation Division is responsible for conducting an integrated solid waste management system that includes refuse collection, recycling and disposal of the City's waste materials. Annually, the division collects from over 540,000 households and completes over 42,000 miles of mechanical cleaning. The Division also cleans illegal dump sites and disposes of abandoned tires, bulk items and household hazardous waste, along with managing community outreach and educational initiatives that encourage recycling and litter reduction. Some of the programs developed through the Sanitation Division include Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee (PMBC), the Philly Spring CleanUp, and Philly Future Track. 


Within the Transportation Engineering Division, there are three units:

The Highway Unit constructs, repairs, and maintains City streets by determining the location, time, method, and manner for openings or excavations of underground street reconstruction. This Unit is also the primary response unit for the City in weather events such as snow and ice. The streets system in Philadelphia totals 2,575 miles – 2,180 miles of city streets, 35 miles of Fairmount Park roads and 360 miles of state highways. The Highways Unit builds and maintains 2,525 miles of this system. 

The Survey and Design Unit plans and constructs city bridges and designs city streets, highways, drives in Fairmount Park, and roads. It performs all surveying functions for the City, furnishing lines and grades of all kinds, preparing street maps, plans and other land records of real property, and maintaining all road records and street opening data. The unit performs all highway planning functions and coordinates the City/State Highway Program. 

The Traffic and Street Lighting Unit is responsible for the design, installation, operation and maintenance of the City's street lighting system including 105,000 street lights and 18,000 alley lights. The Traffic and Street Lighting Unit determines the type and location of all signs, signals, markings and devices for regulating and controlling vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Its employees install, maintain, and operate traffic control devices, compile traffic data, prepare engineering studies, and analyze the causes of accidents to provide for the safe flow of traffic in the city. The Traffic and Street Lighting Unit has 2,950 signalized intersections, 15,000 conventional stop intersections, and 3,000 all-way stop intersections under its jurisdiction. The Planning and Analysis Unit assist the Transportation units with strategic planning and analysis.