Meet ‘Luigi’, Encinitas’ new street sweeper

Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear with the new street sweeper, "Luigi".

A new compact Italian roadster is turning heads as it cruises down the 101: Introducing “Luigi” the city of Encinitas’ new bright yellow mini street sweeper.

The new sweeper’s job is to keep the clear the city’s bike lanes of beach sand and sweep away any debris that can end up in storm drains. Although it’s been out on the street for a couple of months, Luigi officially launched on June 15 as Encinitas City Hall reopened to the public and the city honored its workers who were essential during the pandemic months.

The new mini street sweeper comes from the Italian company DuLovo, hence its street name Luigi. The vehicle typically comes in white but Tim D’Zmura, interim director of public works, had the idea to jazz up the ride in yellow wrap, adding a smiley face to the front and a nametag on its side:

Luigi the city's new street sweeper.

“Maintenance can be so boring, I thought this was a way to have a little fun,” D’Zmura said. “We wanted to make him a little more personable while he’s out sweeping the bike lanes.”

The fun upgrade came at no cost to the city as it was sponsored by Nixon-Egli Equipment Company with additional funding from Dzmura himself.

In the past, the city had no equipment that could get to those hard to reach places on the beachside bike lanes on Highway 101. They had to contract the work out until last October when the city agreed to purchase the $115,000 mini sweeper. The city will save on the contract cost by keeping the work in-house.

“It gives us greater control to provide a higher level of maintenance,” D’Zmura said of 42-inch wide compact sweeper and its twin brushes (Luigi’s whiskers) that can get into the tight spaces. “It’s a perfect vehicle for what we are doing.”

Per DuLovo, the sweeper’s “extremely silent engine and special sweeping system minimizes environmental impact and renders sound emissions practically imperceptible.”

D’Zmura said people can expect to see Luigi out three to four days a week and perhaps more due to weather conditions or beach usage.

“We hope more and more people will take notice,” he said, envisioning that Luigi will be a guest star during events like Public Works Week when the department visits local schools to teach kids about the important work they do to keep Encinitas safe and clean.