Councilman David G. Greenfield questioned New York Department of Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty at a recent City Council budget hearing about the lack of cleanliness along several important local commercial avenues and the high number of fines homeowners and merchants have received recently due to an enforcement blitz. Councilman Greenfield also asked the commissioner how he can work with the department to improve services such as street sweeping and emptying of corner trash baskets to make the district cleaner and more welcoming for everyone.
“In my district, this is very challenging due to the massive population growth within the community, so today we are really struggling to keep up with that,” said Councilman Greenfield, explaining the unprecedented growth in neighborhoods like Boro Park and Midwood in recent years. Greenfield noted that one sanitation sector that includes part of his district and part of a neighboring council district has consistently received very low ratings from the mayor’s office regarding the cleanliness of its streets and sidewalks. As a result, many homeowners and merchants across the entire district have become targets of a Sanitation Department enforcement blitz, even though the troubled portion of the sector is outside of Councilman Greenfield’s district and part of a completely different neighborhood.
“We recently did a walk of the area with Sanitation officials and found that it’s pretty clean overall. The sector is very large and made up of several neighborhoods, and now the entire area is being targeted for fines. I am concerned about that happening and I’m not convinced it’s fair because I believe the Boro Park portion of the sector is clean,” Councilman Greenfield told Commissioner Doherty at last week’s hearing at City Hall.
In addition, Councilman Greenfield raised the issue of constantly overflowing street corner trash baskets along important shopping districts including Avenue J and Avenue M in Midwood. “This is a very big issue that I receive lots of complaints about and honestly we have not had much response or cooperation on this issue,” he told Commissioner Doherty. “We’ve got massive overflowing garbage baskets, and my understanding is that it’s a budget issue as to why these are not regularly picked up. I routinely see bags and bags lying there, and it impacts people’s interest in shopping and going out to restaurants. If you have to walk down the street and jump through trash and there are rats scurrying around, it’s obviously not a very appetizing situation,” added Councilman Greenfield.
In response, Commissioner Doherty said the issue comes down to not having enough personnel to empty street corner baskets as often as is necessary to keep them from overflowing. He welcomed Councilman Greenfield’s suggestion that cameras be installed at problem locations to help cut down on people illegally using corner baskets for household or business refuse. “I have no problem funding things like cameras to catch people who are dumping trash,” said Councilman Greenfield. “The situation now is really just not acceptable. Folks are paying crazy amounts of money for commercial rents, and people are actually telling me they don’t want to have dinner in their own district because on Avenue J you have to walk through trash to get some pizza, so it’s bad for the economy.”
Finally, Councilman Greenfield proposed using capital funding in the city budget to purchase a mechanical broom to be used specifically for cleaning streets in local neighborhoods during overnight hours. “We obviously have cleanliness issues, so I would be happy to fund a broom for the district for nighttime routes, as that’s a good time to clean our streets as opposed to during the day,” he added.
“Keeping our streets clean is at the top of everyone’s quality of life concerns,” explained Councilman Greenfield. “We deserve to live in a nice, sanitary and safe community. That’s why I am committed to getting the resources necessary to make sure that our streets and sidewalks are clean. I am confident that the Sanitation Department and I can work together to solve many of these issues and improve the quality of life for everyone,” concluded Councilman Greenfield.
(YWN Desk – NYC)