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Boston's trash emergency

NorthEndWaterfront.com reports several state reps are shepherding an "emergency" bill that would, immediately on passage, let Boston and other communities ban overnight commercial trash pickups. Legislators consider the ide at a hearing on Oct. 18 at the State House, Room A-1, starting at 10 a.m.

The proposal, backed by, among others, Marty Walz (D-Back Bay) and Aaron Michlewitz, would dovetail with an effort by city councilors Felix Arroyo and Mike Ross to limit commercial pickups because of noise complaints in neighborhoods such as the North End, downtown and the Back Bay. Current state law prohibits such bans.

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Comments

Really.

Where's the same sort of urgency for the uptick in crime in other areas of the city?

Keep it up guys.

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Unless of course you don't find sleep to be a helpful way to prepare for work the next day.

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Getting to sleep in a city. It's called closing your windows, and if necessary, turning on a fan or music to drown out the little noise left.

How soon until the trust fund Yuppies in Southie and East Boston start complaining to Logan about the sounds of jets over the city? h wait, it's already happened in Somerville (where it's exponentially quieter).

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Know your history. Residents of East Boston have been complaining about the Logan noise since the 1960s, pre trust fund yuppie era and pre Spanish speaking era. Most are used to it however.

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A working garbage truck puts out almost 100 decibels - just shy of a rock concert or jet engine - closing your windows helps but it's not going to eliminate enough sound to keep you asleep - especially if you live on the lower floors facing an alley - which magnifies the sound.

Lots of businesses already have their trash picked up during the day along with 100% of the residential pickups. The problems are a very small minority of pickups that cause an enormous amount of disturbance (and frequently it's not even the pickups - it's the diesel engine backing down the alley going beep, beep, beep for 5 minutes - I think if a garbage truck has to stop at a red light to go around the block and come in the alley the correct way it falls apart.

And for the record - even if you are allowed to pick up the trash at 4 am it's illegal to operate machinery that puts out that kind of sound in a residential neighborhood in the middle of the night- EVERYWHERE. If the cops would simply enforce the rules (really all they have to tell the haulers to stop or they'll shut them down). But they don't (maybe we should just rent a garbage truck and back it down the streets of Hyde Park - how long do you think the 99% would tolerate that at 4 am?)

Who knows why - in other parts of the city there are definitely bigger priorities - around here - we believe in the broken windows theory - don't tolerate the little things and the bigger things don't start cropping up.

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Having lived in a dorm that overlooked an alley, at the end of which were the cafeteria dumpsters, I can vouch for the loudness -- honestly, I think the beeping was the worst part, loud as it was. Sounds kind of like an alarm clock.

But yeah, if that was happening at 4am there's no way I'd sleep through it.

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When will Felix arroyo actually address a REAL problem?

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The city that mainlines Ambien at 8pm or else.

Meanwhile, nobody seems to care about illegal levels of noise from leaf blowers and landscaping and construction and trucks using their jakes during daytime working hours - and hours when night shift folks are sleeping.

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I was tired of working 2nd and third shift and trying to sleep during the day.. and being kept away by jackhammers, blowers, trucks....

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in Boston they do

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Because it seems to me that, instead of measuring and cracking down on excessive noise in the daytime and night time hours, the focus is on "groups which other groups don't like and play little power games using the city as a weapon", like trash haulers and students.

We could never get the city to take the landscaping noise, idling tour buses or the jake brake noise on Chelsea St. seriously when I worked in Charlestown - even though it was both excessive and disruptive.

If they were serious about noise, they would be measuring it at all hours and developing both a master plan for control of sources and a citation plan for measured infractions of any origin.

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Cambridge passed strict leaf blower regulations a year or two ago. Some people complained that they should have been focusing on bigger problems, but I think the rules make a lot of sense.

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or boom cars, or people who think it's cool to drive around with a hole punched in their muffler so you can hear the buzzing a mile away.

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Bars let out at 2AM in the city of Boston as opposed to the 8PM you are suggesting. Do your research or else you come across as ignorant.

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because its so much better to have large garbage trucks out weaving its way around packed, pedestrian filled streets, at 10am when its just coming off rush hour traffic. Smart. Real Smart.

And of course this is an "EMERGENCY" because jobs aren't as important as uppity ups neighborhood noise problems. Whatever..

flipping nimbys.. you want quite at night, move to the god damn suburbs...

White Whine.. White Whine...

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You live in a city, it's not like the suburbs where all the restaurants are out on Rt 9.

Living in a city takes MORE regulation of behavior, not less.

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...greater tolerance of noise and accepting the fact that one will be living above or very near restaurants and other businesses.

Many current urban dwellers grew up in the burbs after their parents or grandparents left the city for the quiet life. Now, they've come back, and they've brought expectations with them that can not be sustained in the city without severely compromising those businesses and services they came for in the first place. Having the trash collected during the day will cause bigger problems.

It reminds me of Salem, where the tension between people who bought downtown condos/lofts, and the business/tourist side of downtown, is really really high. But, I guess when people were looking at the beautiful new lofts, they failed to notice Salem all around..or even the cafe just one floor below. (I do not live in Salem)

...or of the folks who bought near Fenway, complaining about events at Fenway park..

Now and again, complaints are reasonable. I'm sure some of them are. But a line has to be drawn somewhere. A city has to be allowed to be a city...in order to thrive. Who wants a vertical suburb?

/rant

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Does!

If only the rest of the city was as nice as DTX after 4:30 PM! A trustfund baby sure can dream!

:)

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In response to those who say, "If you want quiet, move away," I say, "Wrong, we were here first." Many of us are not fresh from the suburbs, but have been living in these neighborhoods for multiple generations. We accept urban noise: people talking, playing music, laughing, having parties, driving cars -- all part of life here. But our neighborhoods were not always packed with restaurants serving an out-of-town clientele; that's relatively new in the overall scheme of things. And we're not talking about "a little urban noise" here, we're talking about the operation of heavy industrial machinery, in some cases as close as 15 feet from our pillows, at 4:00 AM.

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I'd bet more loud people come from the burbs, they have all that setback and Norwegian spruce for noise dampers. I'm from the burbs myself, but I just used all that room to shoot arrows at things. That's what I really miss.

Seriously if we want the city to work, it's going to take more regulation of noise, crime and so on.

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On your observation about newly 'relocated' individuals suddenly having issues... (your ex. Noise in the Fenway Area, etc.).

I have seen similar behavior in the suburbs/outlining area of Maryland. People bought homes in an area that was primarily agriculture. There were still working farms adjacent/near to the development.

Once, the 'new' people arrived, the odor complaints about cow manure, etc. appeared. My observation was: "Didn't they see the silo and barn in the field next to their house? Do they know where their milk, cheese, beef, chickens come from?"

Having lived in both rural and urban settings, I find that one has to adapt to the noises (wether crickets, rabbits being snagged by foxes, garbage trucks, fire truck/police sirens) that are part and parcel to the environment one chooses....

just my 2 cents..

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Does nobody among these NIMBY 1 percenters understand why there is overnight trash pickup?

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The rats bother me far more than noisy garbage trucks - and I say that from my apartment across the street from Pizzeria Regina.

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I do. It's because trash haulers, dealing with less congestion, can pick up more trash per hour at night, which allows them to charge a lower price, which some businesses take advantage of, thereby shifting some of the cost burden from themselves onto the people whose sleep is disturbed.

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Why do you think moving trash pickups from 4 AM to 9 AM would cause a rat problem? If rats can get into a holey dumpster at 5 AM, then they can get in at 3 AM.

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During the Big Dig fiasco when every Local 88 sandhog and other union laborers were running out to buy their Harleys with the first paycheck, most invariably modified the pipes to create ear-splitting noise. When I had the opportunity to issue a citation I would, but more often than not when the ticket got to the appeal stage, one Democrat pol or another would be at the hearing to make sure things got "worked out" for their union member client. Funny to see these two Dem state reps and their Dem City Council understudies seeking the "emergency" power to further regulate business when they'd never dream of cracking down on the union Harley crowd which is far louder. Thankfully many of the bikes in question have long since been repossessed.

If this passes, add Allied Waste (BFI), Waste Management and the others to the list of obligatory campaign contributors. Campaign contributions are the best insurance policy. Pathetic.

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You should donate your pension back to the city.

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At the same time Fishy cries about union folks going to bat to try to enable their associates to break the law and annoy people with noise, in another thread he ridicules a woman for complaining about police and emergency services personnel breaking the law and making her child sick.

They're horrible when they do it.
You're horrible if you complain when we do it.

Anything unclear about that?

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It must be fun to live in the suburbs and whine about everything that goes on in Boston, like people looking to improve their quality of life, etc.

What's your beef? Some people were unhappy, they asked for some help from their city councilors & state reps, they responded, the issue is addressed, no one's inconvenienced.

I can see how this would upset you, some people actually doing something.

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What about the added number of trucks on the city streets during the day? What about the effects on residential trash trucks now having another fleet of trucks to work in between?

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Except for the business owners, and people who actually work for all those revenue generating entities known as "employers". Creating constant truck delivery traffic and trash hauling traffic in the daytime hours flies in the face of modern city policy, not to mention what the Ancient Romans figured out, but Boston charges onward!

Yes, let's turn Boston into a quiet, gated, bedroom community - is that the goal? I'm sure the quality of life will change precipitously when these City Council fools drive every last job from the area because only the narrowly defined interests of local residents seem to count in this bizarro world calculus. I'm sure neighboring communities would love the tax money that Boston is driving away with constant nonsense and hyperfocus on tiny fifedoms while ignoring the needs of those paying the bills.

I lived in Kenmore for 5 years, btw ... and I've worked in Boston for a total of 15 years. Thus I know firsthand that people who live in a city are not the only users of a city, and not the only ones who matter. Maybe Boston should give up all the state tax money if the idea is to cater to the needs of small groups of residents only?

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Creating constant truck delivery traffic and trash hauling traffic in the daytime hours flies in the face of modern city policy, not to mention what the Ancient Romans figured out, but Boston charges onward!

Of the 6-8 haulers that pick up trash in our alley - it's only 2 or 3 that feel a need to do it between 4 and 6 am. This would have virtually zero noticeable impact on the operations of the city.

The city itself picks up trash 3 times a week in the middle of the day at civilized hours - 2 regular trash and one recycling - so how does that fly in the face of modern city policy if the city itself practices this policy?

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I recently had a group of people in for an expert panel, some coming from Europe the afternoon before the meeting. They wandered around the area in the balmy weather, and were rather puzzled by all the trash bags on the street in Beacon Hill and the North End.

They couldn't believe that this was the standard system, three times a week! Older cites in Germany, France, and Spain use centralized dumpsters for trash and recycling.

Given the state of the trice weekly rat buffet and the trash hauling from restaurants problem, and the congestion problems, and the noise issues, it would seem like there needs to be some much more comprehensive thinking about handling trash in these neighborhoods. Perhaps with some research into how other ancient areas handle the problem ...

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I live in Boston, and I think this is an idiotic idea. See my earlier post about rats, then read on if you didn't understand it.

Night time collection is associated with food trash put out at night when the restaurants close. It will still be put out at night, but if we wait 10 hours to collect, the dumpsters will be a rat magnet. Health and safety are more important than noise abatement. I lived three years above an alley with a midnight trash collection. Every night, the truck backed down the alley, and it took me all of three weeks to get used to it.

the point about living in a city meaning compromise is valid. I believe I've seen you make the same argument over at ArchBoston regarding shadow and greenspace concerns. This is no different.

PS for Stevil. 100 decibels? Are you friggin' kidding me?

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Didn't look like this site had a particular bias against garbage trucks - so yes 100 db - if you work on these things without ear protection you will go deaf.

http://www.soundbytes.com/page/SB/CTGY/decibel-levels

Hey - the trucks don't wake my wife up and after 20 years in the city they are the ONLY thing that wakes me up once I'm asleep - even the sirens don't bother me. 4 out of 4 of my downstairs neigbhors over the years have complained about the trucks. Doesn't seem to bother the upstairs guy - he's probably far enough away.

As for the rats - picking up at 4 am or 9 am won't make an ounce of difference - I see plenty of activity back there as early as 10 pm - by 4 am they have already fed and are nestled in my engine block chewing on the wires in my car and making babies. The rats seemed to like the dumpsters that got emptied at 4 am the best - granted they have the most food in them.

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They may have registered that noise level somewhere on the truck, and I'm sure it is an issue for the operators. But the trucks that drive through my neighborhood are not remotely as loud as an airplane, even when I'm outside during the pickup. They are certainly less loud that if I'm inside snug in my bed.

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A well-maintained truck driving by at night isn't such a big deal.

It's the 10 minutes of backup beepers, dumpsters clanging, and lift hydraulics that make dumpster trucks such a problem at night.

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Thank you! I for one am sick and bloody tired of non-Bostonians bitching about Bostonians trying to improve their neighborhoods.

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