Midwood Council candidate floats new street-cleaning proposal

Midwood Council candidate floats new street-cleaning proposal

He wants to sweep away those alternate-side-parking rules.

A Midwood Council candidate wants to end the much-despised requirement to make way for street-sweeping trucks by deploying a newer type of vacuuming street cleaners that can suck up trash from underneath cars, so they don’t have to be moved.

Yoni Hikind — the son of Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s (D–Midwood), who is running on the independent line “Our Neighborhood” against Councilman David Greenfield’s handpicked successor Kalman Yeger — said he wants the city to look beyond conventional thinking to address one of the things New Yorkers hate most.

“What I’m running on is really fresh ideas and thinking outside the box, it’s not really rocket science either. How do other cities across the globe clean their streets?” said Hikind. “There’s something out there — there are options out there that would lead to more efficient, cleaner streets, all that good stuff, and also would alleviate the need to move your car.”

Several cities across the country and the world — including in Baltimore, Toronto, and Paris — already use the massive, four-wheeled vacuum cleaners, which are manufactured by Canadian firm Madvac and Belgium’s Glutton, according to Hikind.

Hikind plans to host a demonstration of the cleaners in his would-be district, and push for a pilot program so the Department of Sanitation can see how much more efficient they would be in keeping the streets clean, he said.

“That’s the plan — with them coming down and showing people what exactly it looks like, and why the city needs to look, and why that would allow us to get rid of the alternate-side nightmare as well — best of both worlds,” said Hikind.

And even if the new technology doesn’t completely eliminate the need to move cars from one side of the road to the other, Hikind said the machines would clean the streets better, regardless.

“People get excited about the alternative side part, I don’t see why that shouldn’t be looked at, but at the very least we will have cleaner streets and that would be wonderful,” he said. “To me this is a no brainer.”

The Department of Sanitation said it has experimented with the idea of high-powered vacuum trucks at least three times over the last two decades, and the machines were not up to par with the current street-cleaning practice, but head honchos at the city agency continue to look at the latest technology in order to figure out the best methods, said a spokesman.

“The Department of Sanitation has previously experimented with vacuum trucks. Our experience was that they often clog and we would still require vehicles to move from the curb since the vacuums were unable to easily clear debris from beneath parked vehicles,” said Vito Turso. “Our equipment chiefs are constantly researching new technologies.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.