Bensonhurst Block to Get Tough Love from Sanitation

September 6, 2018 Paula Katinas
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A longstanding problem on one of Southwest Brooklyn’s busiest commercial corridors involving trash, illegal parking and catch basins clogged with cooking grease is coming under scrutiny by the city’s Department of Sanitation after a local lawmaker and community officials demanded action.

The block of 86th Street between Bay Parkway and 23rd Avenue has been a mess for a long time, according to Councilmember Mark Treyger, who recently took City Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia on an inspection tour to get a first-hand view of the situation. Community Board 11 District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia accompanied Treyger and Garcia on the site visit.

Garcia vowed to undertake enforcement measures after seeing what was taking place on the crowded block filled with dozens of stores and sidewalk vendors.

“Keeping all of New York City clean is a top priority at the Sanitation Department, and we are committed in helping maintain this vibrant commercial corridor of south Brooklyn clean for local residents, shoppers, and business owners. To help curb litter and improper trash disposal, we will be stepping up enforcement to ensure regulations are being met,” Garcia said in a statement.

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Treyger said the sanitation problems on the block largely stem from two factors: 1) An excess of waste originating from the delivery of goods to stores, and 2) vendors who take up more room on the sidewalk than is legally permitted.

Under city regulations, a store owner is permitted to display merchandise on the sidewalk but the display cannot extend more than three feet beyond the building and cannot be higher than five feet.

At some points along the street, the amount of clutter makes it difficult for a pedestrian to navigate the sidewalk, according to Treyger, who said it’s a particular hardship on senior citizens and residents who are physically disabled.

“Our busiest commercial corridors are the central hubs of our community, and when they are clean and safe, businesses and consumers benefit. For too many years, this stretch of 86th Street has not met the standard of cleanliness and safety that residents in our community deserve,” Treyger stated.

In a separate but equally troublesome situation, catch basins on 86th Street are becoming clogged with cooking grease poured through the grates by local restaurant owners, Treyger charged.

The inspection tour focused on trash and sidewalk obstructions.

Treyger, Garcia and Elias-Pavia brainstormed to come up with ways to combat the sanitation problems.

One possible solution that was discussed involved instituting a public awareness effort to educate merchants and vendors on their obligation to maintain clean sidewalks.

Sanitation Department officials agreed to a request by Treyger to institute seven-day-a-week trash collection in commercial zones in his council district, which covers Coney Island and Gravesend and includes parts of Bensonhurst.

“Our busiest commercial corridors are the central hubs of our community, and when they are clean and safe, businesses and consumers benefit,” Treyger stated.

Treyger also asked city officials to look into reports of private sanitation companies sloppily leaving large amounts of trash on commercial streets and sidewalks during overnight pickups.

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