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Overnight Commercial Trash Pickups Debated at City Council Hearing

Photo source: Mass.gov

A City Council hearing on overnight commercial trash pickup brought out many North End and Downtown Boston residents complaining about being woken up in the middle of the night. Contrasting testimony was also submitted by hauling companies that expressed concerns about safety and traffic issues with daytime pickups. The hearing was held at City Hall on February 28, 2012 and sponsored by Councilors Felix Arroyo and Michael Ross to allow the City of Boston to regulate pickups instead of the State.

The proposal has the support of State Representatives Aaron Michlewitz (D-North End, South End) and Marty Walz (D-Back Bay, Beacon Hill) through a proposed home-rule petition to exclude the city from state law.

Fifteen neighborhood associations have also written letters of support, although neither of the North End / Waterfront groups have yet taken a formal position. Below are some quotes from the hearing reported by various news sources:

Patch.com quotes a North End resident and a hauling company representative:

“When the source (of the noise) is 10 feet away from you, it’s comparable to being awoken by a sledgehammer to the head night after night after night,” said Anne Pistorio, a member of the North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association.

“Think about what a morning in the city of Boston would look like if you were to start trash removal in the morning. It’d be inundated with piles of waste,” said Dan Murphy, of Mass Hauling and Capital Paper Recycling.

From the South End News:

According to City Councilor Felix G. Arroyo “This is a very reasonable proposal that would allow the City of Boston to address the concerns of its residents. Noisy trucks are picking up trash literally feet away from the doors and windows of residences at 2, 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning. At the moment, there is nothing that can be done to prevent this disturbance to our residents on a nightly basis and that must be changed.”

Boston.com quotes ISD:

John Meaney, a representative from the city’s Inspectional Services Department, also raised concerns that if commercial trash sits on the streets at night, the city could see a rise in rodents. “We’ve come a long way with the rat problem in this city,” said Meaney. “I don’t want to see that go backwards.”

The full hearing video can be viewed on the City of Boston’s City Council Video website.

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