Eagles fans can be congratulated on the joyous way they celebrated the Super Bowl victory on Thursday.
But, as guests, they might want to address their cleanliness next time.
The hundreds of thousands of fans congregating along the 4.7-mile parade route left behind an epic mess of water bottles, beer cans, coffee cups, urine-filled containers, folding chairs, fast-food packaging, and much more. The debris overflowed into Broad Street and the Ben Franklin Parkway, and embedded itself into the lawn around Eakins Oval. Not only that, but fans lingered way past the event’s end, flowing into bars and leaving behind even more trash on secondary streets.
The city Streets Department said 60 tons and counting of rubbish was left behind, the largest ever for an event in Philadelphia. By comparison, fans attending the Phillies World Series Parade in 2008 left behind about 59 tons of rubbish. For the pope, 43 tons, and the Democratic National Convention, 16 tons.
“As anticipated, the massive crowd exiting the Ben Franklin Parkway left tremendous amounts of litter and debris in the area from 18th Street to Eakins Oval and from Pennsylvania Avenue to Market Street,” said Streets Department spokeswoman Keisha McCarty-Skelton. “In addition, the mass exodus caused significant delays for sanitation crews to clean the area.”
To handle the debris, the city used 300 employees — 50 more than originally scheduled — as well as 100 pieces of equipment including street sweepers and sanitation trucks.
The Parkway, which officials hoped to open sometime Thursday evening, ultimately didn’t open until midnight — although much of Broad Street was open hours before. The day after the event, crews were still working around Eakins Oval, and will need to go back for detail work.
But, as anyone who saw the amount of trash that accumulated Thursday night knows, a lot of streets blocks away from the parade were also left in a mess.
That includes areas around Pennsylvania Avenue and Fairmount Avenue, as well as North Broad Street and across the Spring Garden Bridge in the Drexel University area, said the Streets Department.
The massive operation also left the department running behind for its regular duties. Residential trash and recycling collections are a day behind.
Some residents were appalled at the trash left behind.
Tim Stout, a 43-year-old engineer who lives behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art at 25th and Aspen Streets, was girded for the crowds. He’s seen big events there before and now plans vacations around them. But he wanted to cheer for his team.
“I’m a lifelong Eagles fan and really wanted to enjoy it. Instead, I was upset and disappointed,” Stout said. He brought nieces and nephews with him, along with his mother.
“It was like a frat party,” he said referring to the profanity, alcohol, and marijuana.
“Our neighborhood is trashed,” Stout said late Friday afternoon. “When I walked my dogs through puddles of urine and broken glass, one got a shard in his foot. We are left with a mess of beer cans, broken glass, urine, fecal matter, you name it.”