Grime of the times: Ridgites say city must step up efforts to clean hard-to-reach streets

Brooklyn Daily
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They want a clean sweep.

The city must bring back the sanitation teams that regularly clean hard-to-reach walkways, overpasses, and alleys in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, demand locals. The Department of Sanitation scaled back the service when it rolled out the new organics program last fall, but now that the city is side-stepping the area’s side-streets they have become a cesspool, said one community leader.

“We need a consistent presence. Our district has a large number of locations that are city-owned sidewalks, overpasses, step streets that require this, and we’re starting to see the impact,” said Josephine Beckmann, district manager for Community Board 10. “There’s a concern that since these are not regularly maintained they’re becoming a dumping ground.”

Workers with the Department of Sanitation’s “motorized litter patrol” are responsible for keeping 30 locations across Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights clean by manually sweeping streets clear, according to Beckmann.

Locations such as highway overpasses, alleys, and steep streets with staircases were looked after by these workers twice a week, but city officials told CB10 that they decided to scale the program back when the city rolled out new trucks as part of the new organics collection program.

Now several patrol workers have been reassigned, according to Beckmann, to helm trash haulers collecting large junk on curbs because the new trucks have a divided compactor, which means there is less room for rubbish and the garbage side fills up faster.

But with litter patrol workers manning trucks for extra bulk collection, rounds for the nabes’ hard-to-reach spots are sporadic at best, and locals are fed-up with the grime building up on Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights streets.

“It’s disgusting, it seems like every part of the neighborhood is covered with trash lately,” said Dyker Heights resident Molly Packard, who regularly traverses Gowanus Expressway overpasses to shop along Fifth Avenue. “The overpasses lately are really filthy. I’d like to see more workers keeping it clean.”

Since last October, garbage grousers have logged dozens of calls to Community Board 10’s office kvetching about the sordid streets. Yet the city claims that no sanitation services were done away with, according to a Department of Sanitation spokeswoman.

“No cleaning functions were eliminated in Brooklyn 10,” said Belinda Mager. “The district’s cleaning needs are met with basket trucks, mechanical sweepers, and the borough’s [jobs training program] workers.”

Locals remain unconvinced that the area’s sanitation needs are being met.

“That is not correct, as evidenced by the street level condition,” said Beckmann. “If nothing has changed, then how do you account for the conditions along [motorized litter patrol] routes?”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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