Archive for the tag 'department of sanitation'

Source: katerha via flickr

Source: katerha via flickr

The first City Council hearing on a proposed mandatory fee for plastic bags at grocery stores and supermarkets took place yesterday, and it’s already proving to be one of the most divisive issues to come before the usually lockstep Council body.

Capital New York reports:

The bill, Intro. 209, is being championed by Council members Brad Lander of Brooklyn and Margaret Chin of Manhattan and would impose the fee on all plastic and paper bags issued by grocery stores, bodegas, liquor stores and the like in city limits. The intent is to cut back on the estimated 100,000 tons of plastic bags that find their way to the rivers, streets and trees in the city and encourage New Yorkers to use reusable shopping bags. Plastic bags constitute 2 percent of the city’s waste stream.

… Supporters maintained the 10 cents does not constitute a tax as no money would go to government coffers. Store owners would keep the 10 cents on each bag.

That, of course, hasn’t stopped opponents from describing it as a tax. One of the most vocal opponents so far has been Councilman David Greenfield.

The Daily News reports:

“Quite frankly, I’m ashamed to sit here today and talk about actually raising taxes on New Yorkers,” said Councilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn), who said he buys 30 bags of groceries for his family every Thursday night. “Now I’m going to have to pay three bucks extra a week.”

While proponents like Lander and Chin, who represent some of the city’s tonier districts, argue that such fees have successfully reduced the use of plastic bags in cities including Washington D.C., other elected officials say that it would unfairly hurt low-income families.

Councilman Chaim Deutsch is instead proposing a “recycling education campaign” to urge New York City residents to scale back on the roughly 9.37 billion disposable bags used in the five boroughs every year, most of which ends up in landfills.

“While our environmental goal should be to enhance programs which encourage recycling, the absolute wrong way to accomplish this worthwhile objective is by implementing a tax on plastic or paper bags,” said Deutsch in a statement. “I would rather support a recycling education campaign than support a tax, imposing an unfair financial burden on so many.”

Deutsch noted that though the bill’s provisions exempt food stamp recipients, not all of the city’s cash-strapped residents are on food stamps.

The de Blasio administration and Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito have not taken a position on the bill.

Update (November 24, 11am) : Councilman Mark Treyger also objected to the bill when he spoke to us on Friday, November 21.

“I do not believe that 10 cents is going to change a behavior. It’s just going to place another burden on working class families in New York,” he told us. “I believe we should look at alternative types of bags that are biodegradable.”

Hrm. I wonder why Avenue Y's overpass gets so messy. (Photo by John)

Hrm. I wonder why Avenue Y’s overpass gets so messy. (Photo by John)

The trash problem beneath the Brighton line subway overpasses in Midwood and Sheepshead Bay is finally going to get a little better after years of complaints from residents.

Councilman Chaim Deutsch is sending $15,000 in additional funding to the Midwood Development Corporation to expand its Project Sweep Program, which is now responsible for cleaning garbage, debris and graffiti from beneath all subway overpasses spanning from Avenue M to Avenue Z. The project will also send cleaners to Sheepshead Bay Road, the Holocaust Memorial Park and a handful of other areas known to be eyesores.

The group goes out twice a week to hit several of the spots, according to information from Deutsch’s office. Cleanups began in October and will continue until the end of June.

Project Sweep employs adults with developmental disabilities who work alongside job coaches to clean commercial strips. Since 1990, they’ve been tidying up other business corridors including Newkirk Avenue, Courtelyou Road and Avenue M.

“Graffiti and litter adversely affect our quality of life, and can even cause an innocent homeowner to incur summonses due to littered trash blowing onto their property. My goal is to enhance the beautification of our neighborhoods,” said Deutsch in a press release. “I am eager to work with the leaders and members of Project Sweep on this endeavor.”

If you’d like to report an area you want to see cleaned, contact Deutsch’s office at (718) 368-9176.

Similar cleanups are being announced in other neighborhoods, including funding from Councilman Mark Treyger to local groups for cleanup initiatives on Mermaid Avenue and Stillwell Avenue.

via Citizens Committee for New York City
Does your area have a project that needs some love — maybe a vacant lot that needs cleaning up, a street that needs more trees planted, walls that need graffiti removed? Show your love for your block by applying for a $1,000 grant to transform and beautify it.

The Love Your Block Grant from the Citizens Committee for New York City and NYC Service provides offers resident-led volunteer groups the chance to receive a grant of up to $1,000, as well as access to city services from the Departments of Transportation, Parks and Recreation, and Sanitation.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The applicant has to be a volunteer-led group (can be long-established, or even in the process of forming), no individuals, for-profit projects, businesses, etc.
  • The project should strengthen your community — they’re looking for things that address important community concerns, contribute to building stronger communities through neighbors working together, and result in concrete and sustainable improvements.
  • The project should be able to be carried out between April and June 2015.
  • In your application, you have to provide a budget totaling up to $1,000, and indicate which city services your group is requesting.
  • Applications are due Friday, November 7 at 11:59pm.

Any questions? Contact Imani Brown at 212-822-9567 or ibrown@citizensnyc.org.

Photo via Citizens Committee for New York City

chaim-cleanup-7

Councilman Chaim Deutsch hosted his second community cleanup on Sunday, with volunteers turning out to sweep the sidewalks and gutters of Avenue U between Nostrand Avenue and Coney Island Avenue.

Dozens turned out, including volunteers from Homecrest Community Services and local schools like Sheepshead Bay High School and Midwood High School.

chaim-cleanup-6

The clean-up came on the heels of the announcement that Deutsch had secured $68,000 for additional litter basket pickups on Avenue U and Sheepshead Bay Road, increasing pickups to five times a week on each strip. It’s also two weeks after a Sheepshead Bay Road cleanup.

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The pol acknowledged that cleanups only go so far, and that often the streets are filthy again within days. But he said it’s about creating awareness, and showing would-be litter bugs that their neighbors are putting in the effort.

“It’s not just a clean-up,” he said. “We don’t want to waste anybody’s time. So it’s an ongoing effort.”

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Aside from the funding and the cleanups, Deutsch’s team and volunteers have been passing out fliers in various languages to neighbors, letting them know that public bins are not meant for residential garbage.

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He said that the Sanitation Department is also ramping up enforcement at his request, with overnight stakeouts of public bins happening on several nights on Avenue U and Sheepshead Bay Road. Those caught dumping at the public bins are issued hefty fines.

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The pol said the biggest struggle is with businesses, who due to language barriers don’t always understand that local laws require them to keep the sidewalks in front of their stores clean.

“We’re reaching out to all the stores to get them to comply with the local laws,” he said. “A lot of times, it’s just a language barrier, and once we get through that we see they make the effort.”

 

Source: Lisanne Anderson

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Chaim Deutsch:

Community-minded volunteers will gather on Sunday, August 17th to participate in Council Member Chaim Deutsch’s Community Cleanup event. The event will promote civic awareness as well as the idea that clean streets are the responsibility of everyone, including residents, store-owners, elected officials, and the Department of Sanitation. The volunteers will meet at 10 o’clock in the morning at the Council Member’s District Office, 2401 Avenue U, where they will be armed with brooms, rakes, shovels, and other cleaning supplies provided by the Department of Sanitation.

“Cleaner streets promote social and economic improvement, while giving our children and families a clean and safe place to live,” said Council Member Deutsch. “I have chosen to allocate funding through the Cleanup NYC initiative to the Department of Sanitation for additional street litter basket collections. More frequent basket collections will make a favorable impact on the trash problem that currently affects the neighborhood.”

The event is in conjunction with the “Keep Our Neighborhood Clean” outreach program, an ongoing effort by Council Member Deutsch to clean up our streets, something that will benefit all residents of the district. The Council Member and his staff have reached out to business and residential areas to educate residents and merchants about illegal dumping of household and commercial trash in and around public receptacles, as well as other sanitation rules and regulations. Street litter baskets are placed on business corridors with heavy foot traffic, where there is a need to prevent littering, but that does not solve the entire problem.

“Thanks to the many hard working volunteers, my first Community Cleanup event, that took place along Sheepshead Bay Road, was a huge success,” said Council Member Deutsch. “Keeping our streets clean on a daily basis is a difficult task, but communication and education are crucial. In addition to the Community Cleanups and extra basket collections, I am working together with Sanitation Enforcement through the evenings to monitor and control illegal dumping and littering at corner wastebaskets. These are just the beginning stages of my ongoing mission to provide a better environment for my constituents.”

Some additional details from Sheepshead Bites’ follow-up:

Deutsch allocated $68,000 for the additional basket pickups. This will bring Sheepshead Bay Road to five times a week (adding one additional day) and Avenue U to five times a week (adding three additional days).

The volunteer cleanup begins at 10 a.m. at 2401 Avenue U.

It’s not the first time we’ve asked that question, and the answer we’ve gotten in the past from readers and local officials is “No.”

Yet, following the mid-July meeting between Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and Department of Sanitation Borough Superintendent Joe Lupo, in which the pol said Lupo agreed “immediate action needs to be taken,” it seems the only action taken so far is the removal of a handful of public litter baskets. 

There’s this one at Avenue Z and East 17th Street that we were keeping an eye on. It was overflowing the day Cymbrowitz had his meeting, and despite the “immediate action” it stayed overflowing for nearly a week, with debris blowing into the intersection.

Photo by Vickie P.

Photo by Vickie P.

And then when they finally emptied it, they took the can away as well:

Submitted by reader.

Submitted by reader.

And while people who would normally litter continue to litter, those who are responsible are the ones burdened by the removal of these trash cans.

“Had to carry doggy poop for blocks because apparently their solution to the overflowing garbage situation was to remove the garbage can,” the reader who submitted the above photo said.

We also noticed fewer cans on Sheepshead Bay Road.

Now, we have shown in the past that removing a bin can lead to less litter on a corner, but more pickups would have the same effect without inconveniencing anybody.

And before we hear this “budget cut” nonsense, it’s worth noting that except for one year, the budget of the Department of Sanitation has increased every year for the past five years. Womp womp.

Source: Cymbrowitz's office

Source: Cymbrowitz’s office

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz:

Trash problems and summer heat are a bad mix, and Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) says the city needs to do something about the problem now before Sheepshead Bay’s vermin population starts to soar.

In an effort to address quality of life issues throughout his district, the lawmaker took New York City Department of Sanitation Borough Superintendent Joe Lupo on a tour of Sheepshead Bay yesterday afternoon.

He invited Lupo to his district because many residents have reached out to him about trash throughout the neighborhood. In addition to overall filth in Sheepshead Bay, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz told the superintendent about the overflowing trash bins on Sheepshead Bay Road and Emmons Avenue, the state of the Sheepshead Bay Road underpasses by the train station and along Shore Parkway, as well as trash along the Emmons Avenue median and Ocean Avenue.

Noting that the beauty of Sheepshead Bay attracts tens of thousands of residents and visitors each year, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz has partnered in recent years with the Department of Sanitation in an effort to encourage area merchants along Sheepshead Bay Road to sign up for Adopt-a-Basket, Sanitation’s volunteer program, which would help prevent public garbage cans from overflowing all over our streets.

The legislator also provided multi-modal funding for various beautification projects along the bay side of Emmons Avenue between Ocean Avenue and East 14th Street, which included newly-planted trees, new sidewalks, curb cuts, newly-painted railings, granite pavers, benches and covered trash receptacles. New decorative benches and trash cans recently capped off the much-anticipated project on the west end of Emmons Avenue.

In surveying the community, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz and Superintendent Lupo both agreed that immediate action needs to be taken. “While providing an aesthetically pleasing setting will encourage more people to enjoy the stretch of our waterfront, we need to be vigilant in ensuring that our community remains clean,” said Assemblyman Cymbrowitz.

He said he looks forward to continuing to partner with the Department of Sanitation to address the problem.

boats

More than 18 months after the storm, 10 twisted, tattered vessels were finally removed from a city-owned Knapp Street lot after being dumped ashore by Superstorm Sandy and abandoned by their owners.

Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein’s office tipped us off to the removal operations, which took place on Tuesday. Here’s the statement from their office:

Assemblywoman Weinstein, after months of exhaustive communication with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Sanitation, is ecstatic that the agencies were able to collaborate in order to remove ten (10) derelict boats in the empty lot at 2501 Knapp Street.

The boats, which washed ashore during Superstorm Sandy, were never claimed by their owners and have since become a dumping site and a persistent eyesore. After constituents complained, the Assemblywoman observed the boats, which sat on city owned property, and immediately started negotiations to ascertain who was responsible. The Sanitation Department was able to visit and clear the site on June 10th.

Source: Lisanne Anderson

The Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association met on Thursday to create a roadmap for tackling the neighborhood’s trash problem, but faced pushback from the Department of Sanitation, which claimed some of their concerns were better addressed to other agencies.

Approximately 50 neighbors gathered at the Carmine Carro Community Center in Marine Park, located at Fillmore Avenue and Marine Parkway, to voice concerns to their local government representatives.

Bruno Iciano, the Community Affairs Liaison from the Department of Sanitation spoke first, opening up the floor to concerns from the group about ongoing garbage problems along major corridors, as well as underneath the Brighton Line subway overpasses. The group’s leadership expressed his hope that the department will work closely with the community to improve conditions.

“Our goal is to create a plan to attack all aspects of sanitation,” said Ed Jaworski, the civic association’s president. “It is our hope that grassroots might drive policy.”

Iciano spoke to the audience about several ways that local communities could get involved with neighborhood problems. He spoke highly of the “Adopt-A-Basket” program, the “Sponsor-A-Basket” program, and the Doe Fund. These first two projects would, respectively, allow property owners and individuals to take responsibility over local trash baskets and allow participants to sponsor “high-end” baskets that discourage residents from using them for household trash. The third program would provide local merchants the ability to hire individuals “going through tough times” at a low-cost to help clean up the streets.

The initiatives, though, fell short of satisfying neighbor’s questions, which focused on enforcement:

  • “What do you do with repeat offenders?”
  • “How can we tell if neighbors that get fined actually pay those fines?”
  • “We need to do something about the subway overpasses by the B and Q train on Sheepshead bay. What can you do?”

Not many of these concerns were resolved. Rather, the conversation seemed to resemble a game of hot potato, a diffusion of responsibility by government agencies.

“We’re not responsible for cleaning sidewalks… The overpasses, those are the responsibility of the MTA… You’ll have to call 311,” Iciano said during his presentation.

The MTA, however, sees it differently. Responding to Sheepshead Bites’ questions about maintenance in February, the MTA has previously said that cleaning underpasses and removing hazards like snow and ice are the city’s responsibility, either through the Department of Transportation or the Department of Sanitation.

On preventing sidewalk litter baskets from overflowing, Iciano said they hope to work more closely with residents who live above the storefronts.

“We’re gonna have to do outreach on Avenue U,” he said.

City Councilman Chaim Deutsch told the crowd he would work to keep the pressure on the agencies.

“Keeping our communities clean is our main mission. We want people to stay and shop here. We don’t want them to go to other areas,” he said. “We need to educate small business owners. But that isn’t the only step. It’s a process, and I will be holding every city agency accountable.”

Jaworksi noted that he wished the MTA had sent a representative so that both, the MTA and DOS, could take ownership over the sanitation problems surrounding the local train stations.

“I wish someone would make the connection and take responsibility, say, ‘Let’s talk and get this done.’ How long can they keep passing the ball around?” said civic member Kathy Jaworski.

The burning of the chametz. Source: Dudy Tuchfeld / Flickr

The burning of the chametz. Source: Dudy Tuchfeld / Flickr

Beginning next week, in advance of the Jewish commemoration of Passover, there will be special Sanitation collections for residents who live within Community Board (CB) 15. You can find out if you live within the boundaries of CB15 by clicking on this link.

Next Monday, April 14, all of CB15 will receive regular garbage and recycling collection. You should place all your garbage out for collection on Sunday evening, April 13, after 5:00 p.m. Recycling and regular garbage need to be separated.

For your convenience, a public Dumpster will be located at the following locations on the morning of Monday, April 14, and will be removed before nightfall:

  • James Madison High School Sports Field on the south side of Quentin Road between East 27th Street and East 28th Street
  • In front of 2810 Nostrand Avenue, corner of Kings Highway and Nostrand Avenue

Burning Chametz

People in charge of burning Chametz (food deemed unkosher for Passover), either in front of a home or a synagogue, must ensure that the fires are small and controlled so that the Fire Department does not need to be called to respond to an “out of control fire.” Here are some rules that must be observed for the burning of chametz.

  • All fires must be supervised by a mature, responsible adult
  • No paint thinner, aerosol cans, sprays, lighter fluid or any other flammable liquids are to be used to ignite the fire. These items have caused accidents and are extremely dangerous
  • Water, fire extinguishers, or sand should be readily available at the site of the chametz burning
  • Do not burn chametz enclosed in aluminum foil
  • Chametz should be put at the curb in plastic bags. This will eliminate the necessity for retrieving and washing out garbage cans
  • Do not park cars on smoldering embers

Your cooperation in following the schedule and observing these safety precautions will expedite the pickup. The chametz burning should end at 11:36 a.m., Monday, April 14.

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