The Harlem City Council recently passed an ordinance requiring city residents to remove their garbage can from the street after it has been emptied.
Harlem Department of Public Safety Chief Jerry Baldwin said he has hit the streets to enforce the ordinance. He said those leaving trash cans at the street will be warned, then cited on the second offense for violation of a city ordinance. The citation comes with a $50 fine, he said.
"We'll give them a minimum of 10 working days (after the first offense)," Baldwin said, adding that some residents and businesses leave cans near the road all week. "They put them on the shoulder of the roadway and it poses a safety hazard. The shoulders of our roadways, of the city streets, really aren't that wide anyway. So it just compounds matters when they do that."
Harlem City Manager Jean Dove said the ordinance was approved at a recent city council meeting. She said the city and council members routinely get complaints from residents regarding cans left at the street, which are unsightly and can pose a safety hazard.
"They are leaving them out and they are right next to the road and people cannot walk down the sidewalks," Dove said of one street that gets several complaints and has sidewalks on only one side of the street. "When people are having to walk out in the street to walk around them (cans), if you have cars going, that presents a (safety) issue. Or children that maybe the can is blocking, that might jump out in front of a car."
Garbage is picked up on Fridays in the city and Dove said cans are often left out for several days after that, sometimes even all week.
The ordinance requires residents to remove the cans after pickup and place them behind the residence in another place that is not in direct sight from the street. Dove said exceptions can be made for those with special circumstances such as leaving the can at the street an extra day or so while on vacation.
Notices about the ordinance change were listed in the city's newsletter, which is sent to residents with water bills, and on the city's Web site at www.harlemga.org.
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