PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WTXF) - Illegal trash dumping has all but closed a Port Richmond street to vehicle traffic.
Cars and trucks can't get past the mountains of construction debris left behind by remodelers.
The run up to Super Bowl LII has filled Philadelphians with civic pride, as well it should. But, behind the scenes, there is an ongoing civic embarrassment. Welcome to Coral Street.
Virginia Schultz gestures to the railroad tracks where, in 2015, an Amtrak crash claimed eight lives.
"This is where the derailment happened-- right here..."
Just a few yards away, she stands with FOX 29s Bruce Gordon, in the midst of an ongoing tragedy; the death of a once-proud neighborhood.
"This makes me cry," she says as she looks around her. "I mean, I've been here for years. It makes me cry."
Illegal dumping-- mostly of construction debris, by fly-by-night remodelers-- literally stops traffic on Coral street where it bends into Valetta, and dead ends at Frankford avenue, in Philadelphia's Port Richmond neighborhood.
Drivers risk a blown tire passing over this mountain of mattresses, wood, discarded tires--even a pile of broken doors.
Schultz says short-dumpers in pick-up trucks come down this dark and quiet block when the sun goes down.
"They'll make a stop, and then, all of the sudden they'll push the gas-- floor it-- and just let everything fall out the back of the truck. Dump and go."
She's lived here for 35 years, and remembers when Coral and Valetta were the focal point of block parties.
"It was beautiful," she says. "Kids would be skateboarding back here-- playing baseball and football back here…"
"It's just gotten to the point where it's a disgrace."
It gets worse.
Just up the block, in the narrow alley behind Schultz' home, prostitutes and drug addicts have taken over.
"There's a needle right there," she says, standing with Gordon, amid the mess. "There's a crack vial-- that green thing-- condoms..."
Schultz says the dumping has gotten worse, that this mess has been here for more than a month, and that calls to the city get little response.
Gordon snapped some pictures and sent them off to the Streets department, along with a plea for help.
A spokeswoman later responded that Coral street is on their regular schedule of clean-ups, due to illegal dumping, and that crews would be out next week to remove the debris.
Bur there's no sense of a plan to stop the dumping in the first place.
Just an 'after-the-fact' response.
This was once part of a neighborhood, in a so-called City of Neighborhoods.
Now, folks like Virginia Schultz are left with a question as simple as it is sad:
"How can people live like this?"
The Streets Department responded saying Coral Street in on their regular schedule for cleanup due to illegal dumping and they would be out the week of February 4 to, once again, clear away the debris.
There's no sense of any kind of plan to stop the dumping from happening in the first place. Just after-the-fact clean-ups. Folks like Virginia Schultz deserve better.