City councilor: Make slobs pay for cleaning up their messes in neighborhood business districts

City Councilor Matt O'Malley (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury) says clean business districts are better and even safer business districts and wants to look at increasing fines on "chronic" litterers.

At a City Council meeting today, O'Malley said Boston's maximum littering fines are only $25, compared to $300 in New York and $1,500 in Chicago.

O'Malley also wants to look at expanding the city "hokey" program, in which workers with trash bins on wheels go around business districts cleaning up and introducing new technolgy, such as the sort of "binless bins" the T uses for recycling newspapers.

Separately, Councilor Sal LaMattina (East Boston, Charlestown, North End) wants a hearing on reducing the hours residents of certain downtown neighborhoods are allowed to put trash out on the street. Currently, residents in neighborhoods such as the North End can put trash out at 5 p.m. for pickup starting at 7 a.m. the following morning.

That's 14 or more hours in which pickers and rats can rip the bags open, spreading waste over the street, he said. Changing the earliest time to 6 a.m., with pickup after 9 a.m., could dramatically reduce the odds of trash being spread all over, he said.

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Comments

Anti-car?

I'm pretty sure that market rate parking is not anti-car, but pro-economic development. High car turnover is good for business, after all, and it provides more funds for keeping roads in a good state of repair.

Unless, of course, you're implying that we should all get down and kiss the ground that you walk on and provide you with subsidies for your personal vehicle usage.

Anti-car would be saying "remove all parking!" or "charge ABOVE market rate for parking!"...

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Pass a trash receptacle city ordinance...

Pass a trash barrel city ordinance requiring any place of business which sells litter producing products (convince store / fast food / packie / etc.) be required to provide and maintain a trash receptacle outside their business. A lot of the litter in the streets is food wrappers, beverage containers and scratch tickets.

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Doesn't always work

We used to have businesses volunteer to do this, but it never worked out. Major problems were

- Since there are too few barrels in the city, their barrels got full very fast - daily, if not more often. Since the biz pays for trash removal, it became a huge cost

- Residents who miss trash day just take their household trash to the nearest public bin and dump it there, and the biz's were victims of this - leading back to problem #1 above.

No more trash bags on the

No more trash bags on the street. The city should issue (or at least require businesses and residents) to put out their trash in trash barrels, which prevents leaking garbage, reduces pests eating through bags, and tore bags blowing trash over the streets. This is not unusual in cities across MA or across the country (Newton has city issued barrels, Somerville requires trash be in barrels). Menino was averse to change but hopefully Walsh will see the benefits.

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Wherever the building owner/association can locate it

If he's a renter, that's his landlord's problem. If he's a condo owner, that's his association's problem. What's your hypothetical man doing now? Just filling his 300 sq ft with trash bags all week? If he's generating about a bag a week, then the association/landlord could have 1-2 large common containers that he has to put it in instead of simply on the street. They would be stored wherever the landlord/association is storing any other common items (basement next to the furnace, garage, whatever).

Just because everyone would have to use a trash barrel doesn't mean every single person has to own a trash barrel.

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That's physically unrealistic

In a typical house, say, 16 feet wide by 40 feet deep, with the basement containing one apartment and a boiler room, and every other floor containing two apartments, there is literally, no exaggeration, no common area big enough to contain a single trash barrel, much less enough trash barrels to hold the entire building's trash.

There is trash pickup three times per week; so he stores two days worth of trash in the bin under his kitchen sink, and then carries the bag downstairs and puts it out the street, along with the bags from the other 6 apartments in the building.

Councilor LaMattina...

... How about, instead of making up a new rule, with an arbitrary time (6:00 AM), just go with the existing state sanitary code, which prohibits putting trash out before midnight.

6:00 AM is inconvenient both for night owls who aren't up yet by trash pick-up time, and for early birds who have already left the house by that hour. Midnight, on the other hand, allows most people to put the trash out in the morning, but gives the early birds and night owls a chance to put their trash out legally too.

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Damn straight.

Holding hearings to find out what improvements to trash pickup constituents want and then implementing those improvements, would have an immediate and positive effect on my quality of life. I don't see a similar value in holding hearings about gang violence. I approve of how my city council is spending its time.

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Or even better...

How about enforcing current regulations, rather than making new ones? I have yet to see anyone get a $25 ticket in East Boston for not keeping the area in front of their home clean. Or anyone being ticketed for putting out dinky store bags filled with garbage which aren't even tied, even though the City's own trash ordinance states what types of bags are acceptable.

Oh wait, East Boston isn't the North End, so (former) Mayor Menino, Sal LaMattina and other city public servants don't care, unless it interferes with their restaurant patronage. One restaurant owner complained to Menino, who was dining in his restaurant, that he wished that the City would help clean up Eastie streets end enforce trash rules. The mayor opened his wallet and gave him money for a broom.

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That's one of the things that

That's one of the things that always puzzles me when walking through Eastie -- without garbage cans, where does this trash live all week? Because a lot of it is obviously food waste, judging from the clouds of flies that swarm up when you walk past them in warmer months.

The other thing I wonder is where the hell all of these discarded mattresses come from? Rental turnover that high?

Even midnight is too late

Not everyone can stay up until midnight just to put out they trash. Nor is everyone in a position to take out the trash when they have their hands full with getting their family and themselves out the door for work and school.

The folks sorting through the recycling in my neighborhood generally do not leave trash on the ground. On the other hand the folks collecting the trash too often leave some of the trash on the street instead of cleaning it up. Much of the trash in my neighborhood probably comes from the kids going to school who throw wrappers, bags and styrofoam cups on the street. Then there are the adults who treat the street as though it were a trash can.

How much litter actually comes from trash cans put out too early versus all of the other sources of litter? Or is this just a "Look at me I'm your City Councilor."

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more should be included

This cat walks the streets of Jamaica Plain all the time and applauds City Councilor Matt O'Malley for focussing attention on keeping Jamaica Plain streets clean. I hope he considers raising the fine for spitting on the sidewalks as well, and dog poop left on sidewalks leading into the business district.