The MTA’s decision to remove trash cans from a busy Park Slope subway station has turned the street above into a makeshift dumpster, neighbors and business owners say.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority took out the garbage receptacles inside the Seventh Avenue–Ninth Street station in an attempt to tidy up the busy F and G train stop and reduce the rat population — but Slopers claim the agency’s trash can plan has prompted straphangers to climb the stairs then toss their coffee cups, napkins, and half-eaten sandwiches onto the sidewalk.
That frustrates residents and business owners who say the MTA’s “pilot program” — which operates under the principle that less trash cans leads to tidier places — is about as logical as chopping down trees to make Prospect Park greener.
John Hurley, manager of Dizzy’s Diner, just a few yards from the station, said businesses work hard to keep the sidewalks clean — so the transit agency should do the same.
“Regulars are upset,” Hurley said. “They like a nice, clean neighborhood.”
Other business operators say straphangers who weren’t big litterbugs before have started stashing trash in weird places, causing a sometimes-funky smell and giving the street a less-than-appetizing appearance.
“They dump napkins and things in the trees,” said Teddy Kilabitis of Seventh Avenue Doughnuts.
The disappearing cans come after outraged neighbors last year discovered that a street-cleaning contract — which supplemented the Department of Sanitation’s trash pick-up schedule on Seventh Avenue — had expired, causing on-street cans to overflow on the popular commercial stretch.
Seventh Avenue business-boosters then joined forces to keep garbage under control, which is part of the reason some shop owners say they’re touchy when litter starts to accumulate.
An MTA spokesman said removing garbage cans has proven effective in the past — and that the agency exhausted other methods to get rid of rodents before implementing it.
“We have taken several steps to make the trash bags less accessible to rodents, including adding more frequent refuse train collections, reinforcing storage rooms, and using new, tamper-proof receptacles but the problem still persists,” spokesman Charles Seaton said in a statement
The agency also removed garbage cans at the Brighton Beach B and Q train station in recent weeks.
“We’re asking riders … to be part of the solution by taking their trash with them out of the system for disposal,” the agency said.
Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.