Sunday, January 23, 2011

Beacon Hill: It's Time for 2 + 2

When I moved to Beacon Hill in 1999, my good friend and then-neighbor Tom Hopcroft (now the executive director of the Mass. Technology Leadership Council) encouraged me to join the Beacon Hill Civic Association. I quickly became involved in the biggest neighborhood issue: trash. I was the chairman of the Civic' Association's trash committee for a few years, and I still today serve on the group's board of directors.

Having investigated the trash issue for a long time, my words of wisdom to the rest of Beacon Hill are simple. We have three days of trash pick up in our neighborhood. If we really want to improve the cleanliness situation here, we need to remove one of those days. The Civic Association's City Services Committee (which is what the trash committee has evolved into) has approved my request to investigate switching to two days of trash pick-up, alongside two other neighborhood needs: two days of recycling (we currently have one) and moving the start of trash and recycling pick-up to 9 a.m. (currently 7 a.m.)

Beacon Hill's three days of pick-up, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, is a concept that's at odds with itself. To begin with, other neighborhoods are envious. They see three days as a "special" deal Beacon Hill has made with those in authority; another example of how Beacon Hill receives favored status. The irony is having three days of pick up is an Achilles heal to the neighborhood's trash situation.

One out of every four hours during the week, trash is at the side of the street. No wonder trash remains the top area of concern for residents. Switching to two days of pick up, plus recycling on each of these days (hence, 2 + 2) will greatly improve the trash situation on Beacon Hill, and in the other downtown neighborhoods that currently have three pick-up days.

We have made great strides in improving cleanliness on Beacon Hill since I moved here, with the help of our elected officials. Mayor Menino's public works department has towed cars to enforce posted street sweeping signs, which has gotten neighbors into the habit of moving their cars to make way for the street sweepers. More recently, the state legislature, governor, and the city have teamed up to pass the necessary measures so that trash violators are properly fined, and so that the punishments for improper trash handling have real teeth.

But these successes do not help the fact that trash is on my street corner one out of every four hours during the week.

I have already started my investigation, which I hope to present to the City Services Committee later in the spring. I am investigating other options besides 2 + 2 as well. Stay tuned.

Editor's Note: By investigating 2 +2, the Civic Association is not taking any position on the matter. My investigation DOES NOT mean the Civic Association supports the switch.

6 comments:

Megan Johnson said...

The trash really is ridiculous. I live on Hancock, and half the time there's trash scattered all over the sidewalk. some people don't even use a damn BAG.

BostonMaggie said...

I don't know about envious....but I am definitely stunned that you have three trash pick ups per week. Are the recycling days different?

I am in Charlestown and there is one trash day and it's the same day as recycling day.

Don't you have the inspectors writing tickets for out-of-control curbsides? I know people who have received tickets for messy, over-spilling bags.

fmc said...

This is really a ridiculous discussion to be having. If you want there to be less trash around, then make less trash. It's almost impossible to express my bewilderment that people fail to understand the relationship between the trash they make and the trash they subsequently complain about. Yo. Make less of it. The answer is right in front of you.

Ross Levanto said...

Boston Maggie-- On Beacon Hill, we have one day of recycling pick up, on Fridays. Part of what I am investigating would add a day of recycling, making for two days of both recycling and trash pick up. (Both occurring on the same day.)

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