By Maria Rocha-Buschel
The Department of Sanitation has warned Kips Bay residents that the agency will be parking up to seven garbage trucks adjacent to Bellevue South Park starting next Monday.
Representatives for the agency informed members of Community Board 6’s transportation committee about the trucks’ arrival at a meeting on Tuesday, saying that the change is necessary because DSNY will soon be evicted from the current sanitation garage at 606 West 30th Street.
Between four and six trucks will be parked on Mount Carmel Place between East 26th and 27th Streets on the east side of the park. DSNY community affairs officer Iggy Terranova said that the trucks will leave their spots on Mount Carmel Place by 6 a.m. to pick up trash and return around 2 p.m.
Residents and community board members at the meeting were worried about whether or not the trucks would be parked in the neighborhood with a full load, and Terranova said that the only time full trucks will park in those spaces is if workers don’t have time to dump them during the morning shift. If this happens, the trucks will then be taken out for the 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. shift and dumped then. Trucks will then be parked on Mount Carmel from midnight to 6 a.m.
Residual smells and rodents were a concern for residents at the meeting, especially in relation to trucks possibly returning to the spots with full loads.
“The rodent problem in this neighborhood is bad now but this is going to make it 10 times worse,” one resident said.
Terranova said that the agency will clean the vehicles “as much as humanly possible,” although he conceded that the trucks don’t smell great.
“When it’s a beautiful, hot day like today, it’s a garbage truck, so it’s going to smell,” he said. “But they don’t smell the way that people think they do.” He also noted that especially since the trucks will usually be empty, they are less likely to attract rats since there is often other food available already on the ground elsewhere.
“Rats will always go to the easier food source,” he said.
Terranova explained at the meeting that the agency will be using three “section stations” for the trucks and equipment that will be displaced by the closure of the garage at West 30th Street, in addition to using space at Pier 36 on the Lower East Side.
The section stations are facilities owned by DSNY where employees begin their shift, and the buildings contain locker rooms, bathrooms and lunch areas. The other section stations DSNY will use to house these trucks will be near 155 First Avenue between East 9th and 10th Streets in District 3 and 350 East 60th Street in District 8. There are 60 trucks for District 6 that need to be distributed among the section stations and the facility at Pier 36, so between 12 and 21 trucks will be parked near the three section stations at any given time.
Terranova said that the agency is open to suggestions about alternatives for spaces to park the trucks but noted that DSNY has strict regulations about how far the trucks can be parked from these facilities due to union labor laws, so the spots have to be within one to two blocks of the section station. The only section station in Community District 6 is at 223 East 26th Street between Second and Third Avenues.
Terranova said at the meeting that the agency originally approached the community board about needing a place to park the trucks back in 2011. The eviction at the garage on West 30th Street was the impetus for the controversial garage that was proposed the following year for the Brookdale Campus on the block between East 25th and 26th Street, bordered on the east and west by First Avenue and the FDR, but Terranova said that the proposal is currently under environmental review and he couldn’t give a timeline for that project.