Archive for the tag 'department of sanitation'

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A woman attempts to pass beneath the B/Q line at Avenue Y, a daunting task.

New York City residents and business owners are required to clear their sidewalks after snow storms or face heavy fines from city authorities. But city agencies have failed to clear many public sidewalks and those abutting government property, suggesting a double standard that puts pedestrians at risk.

With 48 inches of snow falling over the course of 22 days since January 1, deadbeat landlords who’ve failed to shovel paths have become a reviled caricature in New York City. Currently, they could face fines of $150, and a local City Council member has introduced new legislation that would direct city workers to clear private sidewalks and forward the bill to the property owner.

But while city workers may one day be deployed to clear private sidewalks, Sheepshead Bites has found a number of government-owned sidewalks that those same city workers have failed to clear.

Among the worst spots this publication surveyed yesterday are the underpasses of the B/Q Brighton line, all located between East 15th Street and East 16th Street. From Sheepshead Bay Road to Kings Highway, not one of the half dozen underpasses without a subway station had clear paths shoveled on both sides of the street, and even some of those with a subway station were left uncleared. In most locations, the northern side of the street was partially shoveled, while the southern side remained untouched.

Keep reading to learn whose responsibility it is, and view the pictures of their neglect.

Pedro with JM Legend co-owner Steve Sasson.

Pedro with JM Legend co-owner Steve Sasson.

The man captured on surveillance video being knocked over by a snow tsunami, courtesy of a speeding Sanitation Department snow plow, on Coney Island Avenue is now mulling a lawsuit against the city.

The incident took place on February 5, when a man calling himself only “Pedro” was walking home shortly after 5 a.m. A snow plow speeding down Coney Island Avenue threw up a wall of snow and ice, striking Pedro and knocking him off his feet. It also did $2,200 worth of damage to the storefront of nearby JM Legend Auto, who captured the entire incident on surveillance video and uploaded it to YouTube, where it went viral.

Pedro got in touch with JM Legend Auto after his sister saw the video of hims on the news, and he agreed to be interviewed on video by the store’s co-owner Steven Sasson, which was uploaded to YouTube.

“I remember when I was walking here, and I felt something, and then I just remembered when I tried to stand up. The thing, I don’t remember,” he said. Pedro never saw the snow coming at him, since he was looking at his feet.

He did say he hurt his head, and he still feels pain in his eyes. He said he was upset and considering a lawsuit, because speeding plows that throw snow and slush onto the sidewalk is “not safe.”

As for JM Legend’s damage, they forwarded the bill for repairs to the Sanitation Department, reports the Daily News.

Here’s the video of the incident:

File photo

A man is in serious condition after being struck by a snow plow in Brighton Beach.

The incident happened around noon. The man, believed to be in his 60s according to the Daily News, was walking on Oceana Drive West near Brighton Beach Avenue outside of the Oceana Condominium complex when the plow hit him.

Scanner reports indicated the man was pinned under the plow. He has been taken to Coney Island Hospital in serious condition. The NYPD’s Highway units are on the scene investigating the circumstances.

We are awaiting more information from authorities.

UPDATE (1:58 p.m.): Facebook reader Sabina S. tells us that the man has died. We are still awaiting confirmation from official sources

UPDATE (2:04 p.m.): Councilman Chaim Deutsch has followed up, informing Sheepshead Bites that the man did pass away. The councilman is expected to issue a statement shortly, but confirmed that it was a privately operated caterpillar contracted by the Oceana complex for snow removal operations that struck the man.

Our thoughts here at Sheepshead Bites are with the victim’s family

Correction: A previous version of this post indicated that it was confirmed to be a Department of Sanitation vehicle that struck the man. That information, which was live on this site for less than 5 minutes, has been amended.

Photo from the scene, submitted by Sabina S.

Photo from the scene, submitted by Sabina S.

This is a breaking news story and may contain inaccuracies. We will update it as more information becomes available. If anyone has more information or additional photos, please send them to tips (at) sheepsheadbites (dot) com.

snow-shovel

It seems with every snowfall, more and more New Yorkers forget that it’s their responsibility to shovel their sidewalks and protect against slips and falls.

So we decided to put together this little post making clear what’s required of you, and a few extra tips to earn brownie points with the neighbors.

What’s required

  • Every owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person having charge of any lot or building must clean snow and or ice from the sidewalk.
  • Cleaning must be done within 4 hours after the snow has stopped falling.
  • If snow stops falling after 9:00 p.m., it must be cleared by 11:00 a.m. the following morning.
  • Snow may not be thrown into the street.
  • If snow becomes frozen or is too hard to remove, residents can uses ashes, sand, sawdust or similar materials within the same time limits.
  • The sidewalk must be cleaned as soon as the weather permits.

The fine for violating any of these rules is between $100 and $150 for the first offense, and as high as $350 for subsequent offenses, according to city notices.

What’s recommended

  • During heavy snowfall, clear your sidewalk before the snow stops falling. It’s courteous to neighbors who may still have to get around, and it will make the job easier for yourself at the end of the day.
  • Check on your neighbors. If you live next to an elderly or disabled person, lend a hand and shovel for them. Hey, they may make you an apple pie.
  • Avoid using salt unless absolutely necessary. It can damage the sidewalk, leading to costly repairs for you down the road. Use kitty litter or sand instead.
  • If someone does slip and fall, go and see if they’re okay. It’s sad that this needs to be pointed out, but many people just snicker and go on their way.
  • Cleaning up your dog’s poop is still legally required, even if it’s sitting in some snow. Don’t be a jerk.
Hmm. I never noticed the directory in which the National Weather Service kept its weather advisories in. Think they're trying to tell us something?

Hmm. I never noticed the directory in which the National Weather Service keeps its weather advisories. Think they’re trying to tell us something?

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for all five boroughs, saying that a winter storm is becoming increasingly likely to strike the area on Tuesday.

The storm watch remains in effect from Tuesday afternoon through late Tuesday night, with as much as eight inches of snow expected to blanket the city and its surroundings, including parts of Connecticut, Westchester, Long Island and New Jersey.

The agency says that snow will be accompanied by wind gusts as strong as 30 miles per hour, and temperatures will drop to the single digits at night. Snowfall is expected to begin in the early morning and continue all day and night.

To prepare for the possible snow, the city has issued a snow alert, sending the signal to the Department of Sanitation to begin preparation, including loading 365 salt spreaders, attaching plows, preparing tire chains and notifying personnel that they may have a tough day ahead of them.

Drivers and pedestrians beware: it’ll be hazardous conditions with low visibility to try and get around in, and the high winds could contribute to frost bite.

Dress warm, and drive safely. If taking mass transit, pay attention to service alerts and give yourself extra time to travel.

Be sure to keep the following links handy tomorrow to get all the most important information as the storm comes through:

bike-accident

Minutes ago, reader Paypaul sent us this photo and tip, saying that a bicyclist was struck by a Department of Sanitation collection truck on Gravesend Neck Road and East 12th Street.

Paypaul wrote:

I was walking up Neck Road going towards the Homecrest Library when I saw the aftermath of this accident involving an NYC Dept of Sanitation truck and a cyclist. The rider didn’t look too badly injured but was holding his hands in front of his face. The sanitation workers were responsible enough to be seen and heard contacting emergency responders. They had not arrived at the time I took the attached photographs. I’m not certain in which direction the cyclist was going but the bicycle was underneath the front tires of the sanitation truck.

He added that the accident happened between 11:00 a.m. and 11:20 a.m.

We’re seeing what we can find out about the incident. Drive, walk and cycle safely, folks.

This is a breaking news story and may contain inaccuracies. We will update it as more information becomes available. If anyone has more information or additional photos, please send them to tips (at) sheepsheadbites (dot) com.

Source: Lisanne Anderson

It’s not news to Southern Brooklyn residents that local trash bins have been overflowing with disgusting levels of trash, but now the reason has become a little clearer. The New York Daily News is reporting that the Department of Sanitation (DOS) has significantly reduced enforcement over the past year, issuing less than one quarter of the amount of tickets to residents who illegally dump their home trash in the public bins than in previous years..

The exploding trash problem has gained attention from local politicians like Councilmen Vincent Gentile and David Greenfield. As we previously reported, Gentile recently worked out a deal with the DOS to schedule for more pickups along busy streets in Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst while Greenfield has petitioned the DOS on behalf of Borough Park and Midwood residents as to why the trash problem is spinning out of control.

According to the Daily News report, the DOS has issued 78 percent less tickets for illegal dumping than in the previous year. At June 30, the end of the 2013 fiscal year, just 922 tickets for dumping were issued, down from 4,185 issued in 2012.  The DOS blamed the drop on the circumstances of Superstorm Sandy, which forced enforcement agents from their normal patrol and into traffic duty. Greenfield said that the results of less enforcement were evident.

“We are obviously seeing the impact of less enforcement on our dirty commercial strips. It’s quite common to see mounds of garbage on our streetcorners,” Greenfield told the Daily News.

The Daily News described the situation at the DOS:

A Sanitation Department spokesman said there hasn’t been a reduction in staff.

But the union representing sanitation enforcement agents said the number of garbage guards dropped from more than 200 to approximately 160 over the past 12 months.

“We can’t be everywhere,” said Ruth Thomas, vice president of Communications Workers of America Local 1182.

And it’s difficult to bust the illegal dumpers.

Agents or sanit bosses must see scofflaws jam their home garbage into city bins to issue a ticket.

Enforcement agents do occasionally dig through the garbage to find the culprit’s name on tossed mail or magazines. But those offenders are simply given an in-person warning.

Councilman Peter Vallone blamed the problem partly on business owners:

Many of the illegal dumpers include business owners who are trying to avoid paying the city to pick up their commercial garbage, said Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Queens).

He’s proposed raising the fines to $200. But that bill has stalled in committee.

“This is another example of the Bloomberg administration’s priorities being trash-backwards,” he said, referring to the drop in illegal dumping fines.

Of the 922 tickets issued last year, 243 were issued in Brooklyn.

Garbage

Garbage

You see it everywhere in Southern Brooklyn; bins overflowing with garbage, trash strewn across the streets and collecting over sewer gutters. It is getting so bad that it is hard to blame people for littering when the alternative consists of trying to balance your coffee cup on a trash pyramid. CBS is reporting that residents in Midwood and Borough Park are up to their ears in trash and are demanding the Department of Sanitation (DOS) to do something about it.

Marilyn Leiman, who has spent 50 years living in Midwood, told CBS that the garbage problem has never been worse:

“I never saw it such a mess. If you walk down Avenue J, it’s just awful. And the other thing that gets me is a lot of tourists come here. They come to eat in the kosher pizza store. They come from Israel; from Los Angeles. And I’m so ashamed that they come here and see what it looks like,” Leiman said.

At the junction of Avenue J and East 14th Street, the trash was spilling far out of its intended receptacle — and was piled up in bags and heaps next to it.

Councilman David Greenfield called out the DOS directly:

Greenfield fired a salvo at the Department of Sanitation, saying several commercial strips in Midwood, Borough Park and Bensonhurst are under-served.

“They’re allowing mounds of trash to pile up in our prime commercial areas,” he said.

Greenfield, who praised Sanitation efforts along residential streets, said commercial strips such as Avenue J, Avenue M and Kings Highway, don’t get the service they need. He provided photos taken over a three-day period. The owner of a bagel shop said he sees the trash mounds.

“All over the place, all over, and in the can for sure, but whatever doesn’t fit they have on the ground,” said the owner, Hershie Oberlander.

The merchants were unsure of the number of pick-ups, but the councilman said there’s only one pickup a week. He protested that Bay Ridge residents not far away get two pickups a week.

Greenfield’s reference to Bay Ridge might have something to do with the recent deal that Councilman Vincent Gentile worked out with the DOS for extra garbage pickups along the neighborhoods busiest streets. Gentile’s deal also covered parts of Bensonhurst.

CBS posted a response from DOS spokesperson Belinda Mager.

But a spokeswoman for the Sanitation Department said trash is actually picked up four times a week in the problem areas.

“Regular collection trucks service the area (Ave J + East 15th Street) on Tuesday and Fridays. In addition, there is a dedicated basket truck servicing the area on Sunday and Monday. Those baskets are serviced four days a week,” Mager said.

Something seems strange in Mager’s response as the deal Gentile struck increased pickups to four days a week. If Gentile’s deal was only for parts of Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst and if the deal maxed out at four days a week, how could the DOS be collecting four days a week in an area where no deal has been struck?

Either way, as a response to mounting garbage problem, Greenfield has floated the ideas of placing security cameras near bins to track the amount of pickups and to catch people who illegally dump residential trash in the baskets.

Source: Deutsch Campaign

Source: Deutsch Campaign

City Council candidate Chaim Deutsch, the NYPD and the Department of Sanitation helped put an end to a homeless encampment irking Brighton Beach residents. On Brighton 6th Street, a local advocate for the homeless had provided a couch, tables and booze for the homeless, leading to late night parties that angered locals.

The outdoor living space was put together by Constance Von Rege, described by various reports as a local eccentric who often solicits money for the homeless to buy them alcohol. Alex Freeman, who manages a nearby salon, described the quirkiness of Von Rege.

“(Von Rege’d) get[s] undressed in middle of the street,” Freeman told the New York Daily News.

Despite Von Rege’s good intentions, the comfortable spot for the homeless elicited a slew of complaints. Police would break up the homeless gatherings but reiterated that it wasn’t their responsibility to haul away the furniture that was drawing the homeless back night after night.

Deutsch then stepped in and drew attention to the issue which quickly prompted the Department of Sanitation to throw out the furniture. While the spot is now clear residents are still worried that the homeless might return.

“They are still around,” Yelena Makhnim, executive director of the Brighton Beach Business Improvement District said. “They cannot be forced to go to shelters or arrested unless they are drinking on the street.”

Your move, Von Rege.

City Council Candidate Scavo Next To a huge donation bin

City Council candidate Theresa Scavo next to a huge donation bin. (Source: Scavo campaign)

Clothing donation bins have sprouted all across Southern Brooklyn. The good intentions of the bins, combined with their almost official like presence, have disguised what City Council candidate Theresa Scavo claims is illegal placement by organizations of questionable intent. According to a press release, the candidate to replace Councilman Michael Nelson, and current chairperson of Community Board, Scavo is looking to stop the spread of the bins.

We had covered the spread of the illegally placed bins on our sister site, Bensonhurst Bean. We reported that the bins, supposedly placed by various nonprofit groups, have been illegally placed on public property and often in a haphazard fashion. The bins have also been subject to theft and vandalism.

Scavo was clear that it was about time for the bins to go for good.

“These bins are unsightly and a nuisance to the community,” Scavo said. “No one knows where they came from and they are unwelcome in this neighborhood. I am working with the city to identify these bins and cart them away.”

Once a bin is targeted for being illegally placed, the Department of Sanitation gives the owner 30 days to move them before the city takes them away.

Instead of giving clothing to the bins, where allegations have sprung up that very little of the resale of the goods goes to charity, Scavo instead has insisted that people donate used clothing to the Salvation Army and other credible charities.

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