Trashy situation under 86th Street El

October 17, 2011 Denise Romano
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It really stinks.

The garbage piling up along 86th Street underneath the elevatedtrain, which is under construction, has Bensonhurst residentsseeing red.

Living like this and looking at this is disgraceful and thereis no reason for it, said Catherine Steinberg of the conditions,especially between Bay Parkway and 23rd Avenue. There are loosepapers blowing around, empty cups and bottles – it’s a breedingground for garbage.

Due to track construction and station rehabilitation, thecolumns holding up the elevated track have protective mesh nettingaround them, creating a favorite spot for passerby to throwtrash.

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Assemblymember Peter Abbate held a meeting with MTA contractorslast week regarding this matter. I have received many complaints,and wanted to make sure that the MTA is proactive in dealing withthis issue, because the current level of sanitation isunacceptable, he said. The solution is going to take cooperationfrom the MTA and the community. The MTA is going to do a better jobpolicing their sites, but it is important that individuals don’tdump personal garbage in the open work areas. Cleanliness is atwo-way street, and we need cooperation from everybody.

Charles Seaton, an MTA spokesperson, said that the authority ismaking every effort to keep work areas around the columns clean.However, as fast as we clean up, the excavated areas fill upagain, not only with incidental trash – someone throwing theircoffee cup or soda can – but also the dumping of household garbageand bags of recyclables, he said.

At those sites that we’ve covered with mesh tenting, peopleleave their garbage alongside the barricades or on top of themesh, Seaton went on. While there are ‘housekeeping’requirements in the contract, this project encompassesapproximately six miles of line structure and a dedicated cleaningcrew would require considerable resources.

The construction is also obstructing Department of Sanitationvehicles. Marnee Elias-Pavia, district manager of Community Board11, explained that street sweepers cannot get through due to storedMTA equipment.

Just by eye it looks like there hasn’t been cleaned in weeks,she said. It’s not acceptable. A clean commercial corridor is goodfor business and good for the community. Regardless of the workdone there, there needs to be a cleaning schedule.

Kathy Dawkins, a Sanitation spokesperson, stated that the agencyhas deemed this thoroughfare a drop-off location at a constructionsite. Sanitation will remove and clean up any debris that is ourresponsibility and will continue to monitor the area, she toldthe Brooklyn Spectator. Sanitation cannot remove anycommercial waste.

But for residents like Steinberg, promises are not enough. Iunderstand that there is work going on, but I don’t understand theneed for the filth, she said, noting that the area was cleanedright before the Community Board 11 meeting last week. Transitwork is slated to be finished in the second quarter of 2012. Are wesupposed to deal with this filth for the next eight to ninemonths?

CB 11 chairperson William Guarinello urged residents to call3-1-1with any trash complaints. This way the city gets to seewhat’s happening in our district, he explained.


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