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Published: Thursday, 7/20/2006

Toledo to end alley trash pickup

BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Trash spills from an overturned can in an alley off East Broadway and Kelsey Avenue in East
Toledo. A change to curbside collection will keep alleys cleaner, a city official says. Trash spills from an overturned can in an alley off East Broadway and Kelsey Avenue in East Toledo. A change to curbside collection will keep alleys cleaner, a city official says.
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Toledo residents who put their trash out for collection in the alley should prepare for a change in that weekly routine.

Starting in September, the city will collect household garbage on the curb.

Bill Franklin, the city's director of public service, said the change will keep alleys cleaner and will save money in the city's alley-cleaning program.

He said most people are more conscientious about how their property looks from the street than the alley.

Toledo has 130 miles of alleys, concentrated mostly in the older parts of the city, including the east side.

Mr. Franklin said the plan has been piloted in several blocks in West Toledo, the Lagrange neighborhood, and East Toledo over the last two years, and the response has been positive.

Two residents of pilot neighborhoods contacted at random yesterday said they were pleased with the switch.

Owen Stalnaker, of the 200 block of Licking Street in East Toledo, said the reason given for the change in his neighborhood was that the city trash trucks could no longer fit in the alley.

"I like it better this way. You don't have as much trash scattered around," Mr. Stalnaker said. He said it adds a couple minutes to take the trash to the front yard.

Ruth Harrison, of the 4200 block of Caroline Avenue in West Toledo, said the switch was made two months ago. She too liked the change because she was unhappy with people rummaging through trash behind her house. "I like it better out here in the front. That way you can see who's going through the garbage," she said.

She also said the alley looks cleaner.

The planned change to curbside collection was disclosed during a meeting sponsored by Mayor Carty Finkbeiner yesterday to hear quarterly reports from each of the city departments.

David Welch, commissioner of solid waste, said the city wasn't ready to publicize the change yesterday. He said he hasn't had time yet to discuss it with the refuse workers' union.

He said collecting trash on the street may take longer because it is easier for crews to simultaneously pick up trash from both sides of the alley than both sides of a street.

He said the department plans a public education effort in August before making the change Sept. 11.

Mr. Franklin said refuse pickup will have to continue in about 4 percent of the alleys because of difficult street access. In those instances, residents will be required to set their trash out in cans, rather than bags. He said the city would buy trash barrels for those citizens.

Toledo spends more than $1.4 million a year to maintain alleys, an expense that will decline significantly, Mr. Franklin said.

He said alley trash collection is a longtime urban practice that probably began with the idea that keeping trash in the alley was less unsightly than putting it on the street. In fact, the opposite is often true, he said.

"If your garbage is picked up out front, you're not going to put it there two to three days early," he said.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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