By Sarah Thomas
Visitors from Columbus City Council discussed the change of location for trash containers on certain Westgate streets at the Greater Hilltop Area Commission meeting on March 6.
Erin Gibbons, who works with City Council in the area of community engagement, presented on some of the main reasons trash pick-up was moved from the alley to the street for certain households.
On April 21, 2017, 109 households on Crescent Drive, South Westmoor Avenue, Olive Avenue, Binns Boulevard, South Huron Avenue and South Westgate Avenue were affected by this change.
A contributing factor in this decision was a study on litter and illegal refuse done by the Division of Refuge. They discovered that litter was significantly reduced when garbage was picked up in front of the house versus the back. There have been no complaints on litter on these streets since the pick-up location was moved.
Gibbons said another reason was because certain alleys are too narrow. The city received 350 damage claims in response to garbage trucks in the last five years.
Jeffery Carter, a legislative aide for Councilman Emmanuel Remy, added that because the alleys are narrow, a separate arm is needed for the truck that doesn’t extend out as far as the arms used for street pick-up. It takes about two hours to switch out these arms, taking up four hours in a day.
“It is more efficient to have containers in the front,” said Carter.
He added that one can apply for a service from the city to get containers moved to the street for you if you have a medical reason.
Not all streets are affected by this issue because some alleys are wider and have more room for the trucks to get through.
Commissioner Shawn Maddox wondered if this had to do with the placement of certain fences and garages in the alley, saying his fence was four feet off the line, but the neighbor across the alley was right on the path. Carter said that could be contributing to the problem.
“I feel penalized for something the city didn’t check,” said Maddox.
A community member at the meeting said that this change should have been brought before the commission before it was put into effect, and that she felt blindsided by it.
More information can be found on the Public Service page of the city’s website, Columbus.gov.