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Wednesday, September 17, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 62.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
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Madison Snaps: August 15, 2008
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A brighter, shinier Moving Days
A brighter, shinier Moving Days
Credit:Kristian Knutsen

Today's image is titled "A brighter, shinier Moving Days" and was photographed by Kristian Knutsen.

The scene on the 200 block of North Pinckney Street was one of relative calm, and more importantly, cleanliness, on the morning of Friday, August 15. It was quite a change from recent years past, when this densely packed block of small apartment buildings and residential flats was among the most visible locations for the piles of garbage that were the hallmark of the two-day late summer transition in downtown Madison known as Moving Days. The widespread practice among landlords in the heart of the city to end annual leases at noon on August 14 and start the next year's at noon on August 15 results in a mad rush of moving, driven in large part by the regular departure of graduated UW students and the ongoing shuffle of roommates among those who remain in school.

Piles of garbage lining the streets, sidewalks, driveways, and alleys are the main byproduct of this tradition, as renters look to cut down on their hauling needs by getting rid of whatever it is they don't need or even want in a spasm of mass adherence to the culture of consumption and disposal that rules the American economy. Plenty of what gets left behind is hardly refuse, though, and other folks looking for free food, clothes, furniture, and just about anything else one might find in a student rental seize the opportunity to stock up themselves from this vast open air market of freebies.

Gleaners partaking in the cornucopia of recycling opportunities that's popularly referred to as Hippie Christmas need to be faster on their feet every year, though. The City of Madison, embarrassed by the growing popularity and notoriety of the event among various quarters, has embarked on an aggressive clean-up campaign over the last few years, tackling the as much as 800 tons of material left curbside with an army of garbage trucks. This program, along with an increased effort at building awareness among renters about charity recycling options, has been progressively successful in visible terms, with downtown streets getting cleaned up faster every season.

This block just off the Capitol Square between the major thoroughfares of Johnson and Dayton streets used to be a disaster area on the second morning of Moving Days, its curbs lined with piles of trash from end to end. This year, though, it looks like the city's efforts to bring more normality to Moving Days is continuing to move forward, and the mythical aura of Hippie Christmas is coming down with a little humbug.

This is the latest entry of Madison Snaps: photos of Madison-area events and locations. The Isthmus group photo pool is the primary source for Madison Snaps, which are published here with the permission of individual contributors. If you are interested in having your photo eligible for Madison Snaps, please respond to the posting on the Flickr group page, or send a message. There is no compensation for Madison Snaps photos, which are © to the respective photographers.

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