Editorial: Trash the change

For close to a century, the city has picked up trash from in front of houses on four private Bay Ridge streets – Barwell Terrace, Wogan Terrace, Lafayette Walk and Hamilton Walk.

That is, until March 13.

Just days before, residents of the four strips were notified by the city’s Department of Sanitation that they would have to start bringing their trash – including paper and metal, glass and plastic recycling, bulk pickup and organics recycling – to the foot of the private streets to be collected.

The result – not to put too fine a point on it – is a mess.

Every house on each of the blocks now has to compete for a very limited amount of curbside space for up to four cans apiece.

The result? Unsurprisingly, pedestrians are finding their paths blocked, trash is cascading into the roadway and residents on the streets adjacent to the private ones are being bombarded with someone else’s refuse in front of their homes.

For some of them, such as the elderly, it is also a hardship having to drag their trash as much as a block away.

The residents who have to haul their trash to the adjacent street are also being told to break the law – putting your garbage in front of someone else’s house is actually counter to the city’s Administrative Code.

We’re not sure why the Department of Sanitation decided to break with nearly 100 years of precedent and change the trash pickup for these four streets.

What we are sure of is that it is making life harder for local residents, for no apparent reason, and as Community Board District Manager Josephine Beckmann said, “Pitting neighbor against neighbor.”

It was Bert Lance, the director of the Office of Management and Budget under former President Jimmy Carter who said, once upon a time, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

It’s time for the city to heed to those words.

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