A pair of trash cans to return to Fourth Avenue

June 17, 2011 Heather Chin
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Now that the trial run of trash can-free intersections alongFourth Avenue has ended, Bay Ridge residents have one question forthe Department of Sanitation (DOS): What happens now?

According to two DOS representatives who spoke to CommunityBoard 10 members and local residents during an EnvironmentalCommittee meeting on June 16, Bay Ridge will remain basket-free -sort of.

We’ll be placing two baskets at [the intersection of] 69thStreet and Fourth Avenue, but they will be high-end baskets, with anarrow top to prevent large bags from fitting, said Deputy ChiefMyron Priester to the assembled residents, including committeechair Gregory Ahl – a staunch supporter of the can-the-cans idea tokeep streets clean.

That’s not going to stop them, Ahl insisted, referring topeople who deposit large bags full of household garbage into, ontoand around the sidewalk cans. They’ll just pull it out [throughthe side and stuff [the trash bags] in.

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Ahl also proposed enforcing existing sanitation laws againststore owners who refuse to clean the patch of sidewalk in front oftheir businesses. Store owners are not sweeping. They need to beread the riot act, he said, adding that convenience stores shouldprovide garbage cans for customers.

The high-end green metal litter baskets that DOS plans tobring into the neighborhood have a side door for easy garbageremoval by Sanitation workers. Priester confirmed that the doorshave a latch, but no lock, and that is likely not going tochange.

The month-long pilot program was launched in response tocommunity concerns about overflowing garbage cans. The officialresults of the trial, which ended on Monday, June 6, showed a lotof problems before settling down, said DOS Director of CustomerRelations Henry Ehrhardt. The rest of the month was split 50-50,with the litter levels plateauing in some areas while droppingsignificantly in other areas, he said

The sole exception, said Ehrhardt, was within a one-block radiusof the R train station at Bay Ridge Avenue and Fourth Avenue. Thisis the reason for the planned return of the two trash cans – whichwill only be there for a brief period of time so that the DOS cansee what happens.

In response to questioning by CB 10 member Fran Vella-Marrone,Ehrhardt estimated that this second trial period will last acouple of months, after which we’ll meet again. The cost of thetwo new cans will not be taken out of local councilmembers’discretionary budgets which, in more flush economic times, areoften used to schedule additional pick-up times in their respectivedistricts. As the funding dried up, so did the frequency of thecleaning process.

A similar pilot program is currently being launched on 18th Avenue, with corner trash cans set to beremoved as of Monday, June 20, on the stretch between Bay RidgeParkway and 65th Street in Bensonhurst. Community leaders therehave stated their support for the trial program.

At one point during the meeting, Vella-Marrone, who also servesas the president of the Dyker Heights Civic Association, provided alist of intersections along 13th Avenue in Dyker Heights at whichshe requested a similar basket-removal trial be implemented. Shecontended that much of the stretch between 76th Street and 71stStreet had become a trash magnet.

For James McAllen, a long-time Bay Ridge Avenue resident,removing and replacing trash cans every few weeks is just aclassic case of placing a Band-Aid on a broken bone.

The corners are cleaner, but the side streets are dirtier.[Households] are just walking another block and dumping it there,said McAllen, who later said he was disappointed that moreresidents didn’t turn out for the committee meeting. It’s justpushing the problem in another direction – residentialstreets.

There is no date set for the arrival of the two new high-endtrash cans at Bay Ridge Avenue and Fourth Avenue.


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