Two city councilors are working on proposals that could prohibit 3 a.m. commercial trash pickups in neighborhoods like the North End and limit the number of companies allowed to pick up trash there at all.
At-large Councilor Felix Arroyo is leading an effort on a home-rule petition to let the city limit hours of trash pickup. Arroyo said that while most restaurant and other business owners in crowded neighborhoods such as the Back Bay and the Leather District try to work with their residential neighbors, there are cases where at "3 in the morning, there's a garbage truck picking up the trash in a place where families live and there's nothing we can do right now as a city to regulate that."
Most councilors last week signed onto the plan for a home-rule petition, which will have a public hearing before being voted on for submission to the legislature. City Councilor Sal LaMattina (North End, East Boston, Charlestown) said noise from early morning trash pickup is "a constant complaint" in the North End.
Arroyo said state representatives Marty Walz, D-Back Bay and Aaron Michlewitz, D-North End, are already working on legislation to let municipalities regulate trash-pickup hours.
Separately, Councilor Michael Ross (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Mission Hill, Fenway) is looking at the possibility of trash franchising for commercial trash pickup in the city. Under this proposal, the city would hire a single trash company to handle pickups in a specific neighborhood, similar to the way residential refuse is already handled. Ross said the idea would drive down pickup costs and would mean "more efficient and quieter operations," because only one truck would go down a street or alley at night, rather than "16 or 17."