Hey Bay News, Welcome To The Dump

Photo by Lisanne Anderson

Courier-Life, publisher of Bay News, has finally picked up on a story that Sheepshead Bites and residents have been harping about since our foundation: garbage.

In this week’s cover story, reporter Stephen Witt wrote that – lo and behold – Sheepshead Bay’s commercial strips are overflowing with litter. We’re surprised it took them this long to catch on, especially since the sidewalk in front of their old Sheepshead Bay Road headquarters has become a pretty severe hot spot for piled up litter.

Courier-Life confirms what we’ve already observed – daily pickups along Sheepshead Bay Road, Avenue U, Kings Highway, and Emmons Avenue has been slashed by the Department of Sanitation.

Community Board 15 Chair Theresa Scavo said she learned the pickups stopped on a visit to the local sanitation garage on Knapp Street.
“I was on Avenue U last Saturday and you couldn’t get an empty coffee container in the garbage basket. It was overflowing,” said Scavo. “We haven’t had a basket truck in two months. They [Sanitation] only do pickups when a regular truck passes for household trash twice or three times a week.”
After learning the service was stopped, Scavo fired off a letter to Sanitation asking them to make sure they resume pickups before the warmer weather returns and the problem gets exacerbated.
She was shocked to get a letter back from Sanitation saying the agency will review the matter and get back to her.
“They sent back this letter without a time frame, but how hard is this to investigate?” said Scavo. “To me it’s a delay tactic. They will wait a few months and then say they don’t have the money for it now.”

Along Kings Highway, sidewalks are kept tidy thanks to $50,000 in private servicing contracted by the Kings Highway Business Improvement District (BID), providing yet another reason that Sheepshead Bay Road and Emmons Avenue need to form its own BID.

Another solution being used in other neighborhoods is to remove trash cans altogether. In Community Board 11, the city has gotten rid of waste baskets and, according to the board, garbage was gone within weeks.

But all of us with eyes (and noses) in Sheepshead Bay know there’s no shortage of illegal dumping at stalled construction sites, public garbage cans, and even in front of shuttered businesses along congested strips in Sheepshead Bay. Not to mention our wealth of transportation invites many from outside of the community who blissfully abandon their McDonalds fry cartons on our sidewalks. Still, the majority of garbage in the streets appears to have originated from overflowing cans.

So would removing all trash cans from commercial strips fix or worsen the problem?