Ridgites: No way trash is getting picked up six times a week

Ridgites: No way trash is getting picked up six times a week
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

Locals say the city is lying when it claims it is picking up garbage from public trash cans six times a week, and the proof is piling up around trash cans in the neighborhood.

“It’s not happening every day,” said Community Board 10 Sanitation Committee Chairman Greg Ahl. “Every time I walk on Fifth Avenue, there are bags of garbage around each can, which means they are not picking up.”

But Sanitation officials insist that they are collecting trash from corner baskets on commercial thoroughfares six days a week.

“The baskets are serviced four times a week on the basket route from midnight to 8 am shift, and twice a week on the regular garbage collection route on the 6 am to 2 pm shift,” said Kathy Dawkins, an agency spokeswoman.

But at CB10’s meeting on Feb. 28, board members laughed at the claim.

“We don’t have additional pickups along the avenues; they were cut out,” said Fran Vella-Marrone, who added that last spring, a Department of Sanitation official admitted during a meeting of Dyker Heights Civic Association that corner cans are only emptied twice a week, when trucks pick up residential trash.

Before the economy tanked, business strips in the neighborhood had twice-daily corner can pickups on weekdays, and once-a-day pickups on weekends, with the extra pickups funded through special legislative grants that are no longer available.

That all changed two years ago, when the city slashed pickups to cut costs.

Now the board has made the funding of additional pickups its No. 2 priority for the coming year.

Citing a few trouble spots, the board is making its case for more pickups.

In Dyker Heights, 13th Avenue is particularly bad on Thursdays, Beckmann said, with as much as three days worth of garbage tumbling out of corner cans. Ahl added that the intersection of Third and Bay Ridge avenues is a particular trash hot spot.

Resident Joanne Bonitsis, who took us on a tour of 13th Avenue’s overflowing trash cans last spring, told us she hadn’t seen any improvement on the strip over the past several months, and Vella-Marrone agreed.

“Before the big snowstorm, it was horrendous,” she said. “If they started doing it at some point, fine, but they weren’t doing it October, November, through mid-December. If you go to the avenues on Saturday or Sunday, the cans are just overflowing.”

In the past, some activists have lobbied the city to actually remove public trash cans from commercial strips because they become magnets for residential trash.

Bensonhurst’s community board has removed public trash cans from many locations because of complaints of overflowing trash — and its district manager says that’s the way to go.

“The corners that don’t have baskets are cleaner,” Marnee Elias-Pavia, the district manager of Community Board 11 told us last year.