Sunday, April 15, 2007

GARBAGE SHOULD BE CLEANED UP ON ROAD RIGHT OF WAY

I have been in communication with town and state officials regarding the need to clean up the garbage, litter, debri along roads. The town has a crew working to clean up litter along town roads. Last week I was advised that the state is responsible for cleaning debri off of state roads (Saw Mill River Road, Dobbs Ferry Road, 119, Central Ave, etc..). A blogger posted a comment on one of my blogs indicating that state law requires the work to be done by the town, not the state --which is contrary to past practices. I have written to the commissioner of public works and town atty and have asked them to research the law. If the blogger is correct, I will ask the town board to authorize additional expenditures so that the work could be complete as soon as possible. We should address the litter problem frequently during the year.
Keeping the town clean and green must be given high priority attention.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea; one area that needs cleaning up by the town is North Washington Avenue in Hartsdale. The small sidewalk is covered in debris and it impedes residents of the area from using it. In addition, North Washington Ave needs an extension of the sidewalk past Colony Drive and past the back of the Hartsdale Pet Cemetary. The road is not that wide as it is and with cars parking half in the road at the pet cemetary, residents cannot walk along this road safely.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what the law is, but I do know that most municipalities clean their own state and county roads just as a matter of routine maintenance. I always wondered why Greenburgh didn't.

Especially along Central Park Avenue (NY 100), simply driving a street sweeper every week or two would make a world of difference. Some municipalities like Yonkers and Mount Pleasant even choose to go beyond basic street cleaning of state ane county roads in order to enhance economic development.

Anonymous said...

Why does the medium on Central Ave in Yonkers look so much nicer than the medium in Greenburgh? Yonkers has grass in the medium, not trash.

Merrill C said...

I am a bit of a freak. I bicycle for sport and bicycle for short errands all over town and other nearby towns to help in keeping the environment clean. I for one see the streets at close hand. While NYS roads spew with garbage (paper, leftover meals in wraps, bottles, broken glass, etc) so are the streets of Greenburgh. Some ugly sights are the intersection of Dobbs Ferry road and Hartsdale Ave, and many others. It is pathetic for the once lovely towns of two decades ago to look like garbage towns. Controlling this can be difficult and the clean up can also be very costly. However, at least a deterrent would be to post big signs with big fines. I have never seen a cleaner place in the world than Singapore. Why? Because throw even a small scrap of paper on the streets of Singapore and in addition to jail time fines can run up of $500 and more when I saw this over 10 years ago. I understand the fines are now even stiffer.

When there is already litter on streets other litterbugs (people who litter) think it is okay to litter more. Renowned author Malcolm Gladwell wrote in either the Tipping Point or Blink that if you walk into a public place that is very clean you would feel reluctant to drop a speck of dust on it. Alternatively, if folks walk into a place already littered with rubbish they will feel more inclined to dump their rubbish in the same place. Malcolm Gladwell used this same analogy to show how the NYC Police department got rid of graffiti on subways, when the vandals painted the graffiti; the city took out the graffiti immediately in addition to catching the vandals (if they can). However, efforts to remove immediately the graffiti that helped eradicate this vandalism.

I think one of the major causes of street litter is that immigrants to this country have not adjusted behavior to North American and European standards. They behave in uncivil ways, perhaps the way they do in their own home countries. The problem is that good old USA has borders where any Dick, Tom and Harry can easily cross over. Some countries are not land-locked so illicit immigration is difficult. Even so, I think illicit immigration is partly to blame. The bigger blame lies in the fact that the USA does not have any induction programs teaching new immigrants how to behave say the American way. Speaking loud in public places, be courteous, don't urinate in public places (all the gardeners spare no time in putting down their pants and urinating in Greenburgh, gardeners hired by households to clean lawns and do other work) or play music in your homes to deafen your neighbors. I am also an immigrant to this country and as mad as hell to see others behave is such despicable ways. Some neighbors play such loud music it makes the neighborhood sound like a carnival. One day, an old respectable woman walked out of Pathmark on Central Park Avenue, Hartsdale and pointed me towards a truck parked outside of Pathmark playing extremely loud music, she uttered, "Young man, what has happened to our country." I hugged her and gave her some reassurance.

I think Paul, a good starting point would be for the town supervisor to send out a mailing to all Greenburgh residents appealing for civil behavior and asking to help keep Greenburgh a clean and decent place. I know you have the blog but not all tune in there and not all read it. These days it is hard to find people who can even speak English other than the natural-born US citizens. Furthermore, mark-up the fines and place big posters. Fines for pets pooping on streets should go from $25 to $250. Trust me price is a powerful deterrent.

BIG SIGNS WITH BIG FINES should be the new slogan to eradicate this mess.

I am sorry this is a long response.

Merrill C said...

Correction to the above comment:

Of course, those who are not natural born US citizens speak good English. But what I meant to say it is frustrating that a number of people on the street do not speak English in a country where English is supposed to be the official language. This is not a problem in Greenbugh and near towns but a problem in many other places of the USA. Not relevant to garbage clean ups, but relevant when one has to read signs posted in English.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy that the Town Supervisor is giving this his attention. This is a problem, I'm glad that Supervisor Feiner plans to have the town address it.

Feiner Gaffe Shows Incompetence said...

How is it possible that after 16 years in office, that Feiner doesn't know whether or not the town is responsible for cleaning up the litter along the state roads in town?

Last night Feiner issued a press release demanding that state officials clean up the mess.

An anonymous blogger, quoting Highway Law 60, tells him the town is responsible. And now Feiner now says he's not sure who's responsible -- the town or the state -- so he's written the town attorney to ask.

He also candidly admits that he's never in 16 years in office ever allocated any town money to clean up the state roads. He defends this as "consistent with past practice."

He doesn't mention that Highway Law 60, which the anonymous blogger mentioned, has been on the books since 1936!

Wouldn't it have made more sense before blaming state officials that Feiner first make sure the responsibility wasn't his as town supervisor?

Will Feiner, having been caught once again not knowing what he's talking about, issue a press release saying "Please disregard the prior press release."

Will he issue a public Imus-like apology to the state officials he so ignorantly maligned last night?

Don't bet on it.

And that's the problem with Feiner.

On a basic quality of life issue for many of us, Feiner, having done nothing about it in 16 years in office, refuses to blame himself.

Only this time, instead of blaming the other town council members for helping him screw up, he singlehandedly blames the state -- as if if were the state's responsibility to do this and not his.

Ever wonder why federal, state or county officials rarely return Feiner's calls anymore?

Now you see why.

Anonymous said...

Malcom,why do you blame the immigrants for the filth.Our own residents are to blame also. Go unto the side streets and see garbage put curbside four to five times a week without any covers. The filth is not only on the main streets,but also the side streets. Sanitation should be checking this out,windy days garbarge all over the place. Who gets the blame the guy who picks up the garbage is not doing a good job.Your inspectors should be more alert as to what is being put out for the day,if it's household garbage for that day,ok.The city of new york checks all the bags that are put out ,Wrong garbage for that day the owner gets a ticket. Not here in Greenburgh.The laws should be enforced to the fullest.

Mr. X said...

Good point about garbage on streets. Moreover, residents of Greenbugh keep the garbage cans standing for days in their front yard long before garbage is due for collecion and long after it has been collected. In a part of Yonkers I know of, residents are fined by the town if they place their garbage containers out the previous day before dusk and if they fail to remove it before dusk after collection. Greenbugh looks like a garbage dump when all this is happening.

Anonymous said...

Glad that the town will address this quality of life concern. The state must work with the town to clear debri on roads. Let's not get into name calling. Let's work together to clean up the mess. The town does a good job. However, there is always room for improvement.

The Feiner gaffes keep coming said...

Now Feiner is telling his supporters that "the state must work with the town to clear debris on roads." Oh really?

If the state "must" do so, as is now being suggested, surely Feiner can point to some provision in state law where this is spelled out. In fact, he can't.

This is just a cover that Feiner cooked up to divert attention from his gaffe last night in issuing a press release blasting state officials for not doing what state law says is a town responsibility.

Also, the law doesn't "require" towns to clean up the garbage. To the contrary, the law merely makes town "responsible" for cleaning up the garbage.

The town can exercise that responsibility in a number of ways, e.g., by requiring adjacent property owners to pick it up, by picking it up and billing the cost to adjacent property owners, or by assuming the function itself (in which case the entire town must pay, unless the town complies with the provisions of the suburban town law which G'burgh has never done).

Or a town could choose to do nothing, which is what Feiner's been doing for the past 16 years.

Here, though by changing his tune from last night and now merely demanding that the state "must work with the town," Feiner is again trying to blame others for what he himself failed to do for the past 16 years.

Anonymous said...

Responding to Merrill C's "Some ugly sights are the intersection of Dobbs Ferry road and Hartsdale Ave ..."

The "reason" will be that Dobbs Ferry Road is a state road (100B), which of course is a ridiculous reason for the neglect.

Does the town even own a street sweeper?

Anonymous said...

A wise move would be for Mr. Regula to study Yonkers' operations. (Feiner and Greenburgh in general have actively fostered negative relations with Yonkers over the years, but perhaps Regula would be welcomed?)

I doubt that Greenburgh would rise to Yonkers' standards, but at least the Town could have an appropriate mindset as to how a professionally managed highway and sanitation department operates.

Feiner acting illegally and unconstitutionally said...

Feiner's ordering the town's Department of Public Works to clean the debris off town roads --but not state roads -- is probably illegal and unconstitutional.

According to the state attorney general, if a town has a policy of cleaning up the trash along town roads, then principles of equality of taxation dictate that all taxpayers must be given an equal opportunity to take advantage of that service.

To arbitrarily exclude town taxpayers who own property along state roads from that service would be to unlawfully discriminate against such taxpayers by denying them the reasonably opportunity to take advantage of a municipal service which they help to finance.

So, if Feiner has, in typical knee-jerk ad hoc fashion, reacted to complaints about garbage strewn along roads in unincorporated Greenburgh by ordering town crews to clean up only town roads, and bypass state roads like Central Avenue, Tarrytown Road, Dobbs Ferry Road, Knollwood Road, Route 9A, etc., then he's almost certainly acting illegally and unconstitutionally.

Yet another reason why Greenburgh can no longer afford Feiner as town supervisor.

Anonymous said...

There are houses on Prospect Ave by Fair street that store their garbage at the curb 24hrs a day 7 days a week. I've metioned it before but I think Gabe the inspector is to busy.
How about it Paaul can you get Gabe out of the office to check this out ? It looks like a dump over there. If you go up the street by Terrace there are commercial trucks parked there at night.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at Rt 100, Hillside Ave and Grasslands road from Tarrytown Rd to Knollwood. In over 30 years its never been worse. It happens because we the public dont seem to care where we throw things.

Mr. X said...

Good discussion folks, that is what is great about this blog that Paul started. Another bad road that has garbage out 24/7 is the one mile stretch of 100B leading from Stadium Road to Tarrytown Road (ie, going East towards White Plains).

Anonymous should not criticise the Town supervisor on this issue. He is asking through this blog for ideas to help clean up the mess. Try to be positive and not negative. Negativism will get us no where. Use the power of your vote and speak your voice in another place on performance of public officials. Paul should remove those politically motivated comments.

It is strange though that some roads belog to the state. Perhaps, all roads in towns should come under the town and some additional funding should come from the State to maintain the roads, perhaps on a reimbursement basis. Accountability is squashed when some roads belong to the Town and others to the State.

Anonymous said...

Sorry "x" but this whole blog is politically motivated.

Feiner uses it to promote himself.

But the blog also allows others to show that Feiner shouldn't be in office anymore.

For example, it may bother some folks out there to know that Feiner doesn't know, after 16 years in office, whether it's the responsibility of the town or the state to clean up state roads.

It may also bother some folks to know that Feiner's action in directing town staff to clean up garbage on town roads, but not state roads, violates the constitutional rights of town taxpayers who own property on state roads.

It may bother people that Feiner says and does these irresponsible things without so much as a second thought and without first talking to his colleagues on the town council and without first seeking an opinion on what he can do from the town attorney.

If "X" watches town hall meetings, he knows that Feiner allows his political supporters to speak for as long as they like, but critics are limited to five minutes, after which Feiner will cut off the microphone and failing that, the tv camera -- both of which he's done.

Feiner is so obsessed with self-promotion, that he generally doesn't know what he doesn't know, which often makes what he does quite reckless.

Until he shuts it down, this blog provides one way for him at least to find out what he doesn't know.

Paul Feiner said...

Please read the post about the letter from the commissioner of public works highlighting the commissioners interpretation of state law as it pertains to garbage cleanup on state right of ways on the home page of the blog.
The town board will discuss the problemss re: garbage with the commissioner and me. The problem will be addressed.
I trust that our readers recognize that some of the anonymous comments are not accurate.

Anonymous said...

What was inaccurate?

At least now we know why the state roads in Greenburgh are a mess -- Feiner never knew for the past 16 years that it was his responsibility as town supervisor to see that the mess was cleaned up.

And not only has Feiner been proved wrong all these years on a critically important quality of life issue, but he's once again refusing to admit he's made a mistake.

He owes state officials an apology for issuing a press release last night blaming them for what he should have taken care of, but more importantly, he owes the residents of unincorporated Greenburgh an apology for not realizing that keeping state roads free of litter was his job as town supervisor, and for not spending a dime during the past 16 years making sure that job got done.

And all it seems he can say about the anonymous blogger who called him on this is that not everything he or she said is accurate.

Like what?

Mr. X said...

If the town is responsible for clearing snow off State roads in the winter then the same logic should flow for garbage thrown on the streets. As Merrill said, I think it would be important to post signs and increase fines as a deterrent. It is more important for the POLICE to chase after criminals that look out for people who litter the streets. If we want this operation policed, then we should give more resources to the Police Department and increase their budgets. Another thing is placing cameras at some locations to at least take a picture of the auto number plate. Just a suggestion off the top of my head.

However, as Supervisor Paul is suggesting, the Police should charge anyone they see throwing garbage in the town and what the town can also do is spread this message to other towns or start a campaign "Keep USA clean."

Mr. Anonymous, you have made a great contribution. This is also the great thing about America - Freedom of Speech."

Anonymous said...

Please do not expect the Police Dept. to write tickets for littering. They don't write tickets for walking with shopping carts(stealing ?)from shopping centers or for talking on cell phones while driving, which is also against the Law.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong with having a town supervisor who would prefer having the state pay for road cleanup, instead of having to increase our taxes. The town should assume responsibility for cleaning the state roads only as a last resort, only after all other efforts have been exhausted.

Mr. X said...

If the Town cleans litter from State roads then the State should reimburse.

If folks do not litter then there will just be no problem. Perhaps, the problems of street litter should be brought up in every mailing or meeting of Greenburgh. For instance, when residents are mailed their school and property tax bills, enclose a leaflet which asks the dweller not to litter the town, it can only increase the town taxes.

Any better ideas to improve this situation?

Jim Lasser said...

I disagree with Anonymous at 10:29 - there is something fundamentally wrong with shifting the responsibility. Having "the state" pay is a purely political notion. Where does the state get the money? From Greenburgh taxpayers! Instead of paying for the cleaning and maintenance from local property tax revenues, our Supervisor is saying that the State should levy the necessary taxes. Why? Because the Supervisor does not want the taxes associated with his administration. He would rather point to "low or no tax increases" during the last several years than collect enough taxes to do simple, straightforward but really un-sexy things like maintenance and repair. Buy a park and get lots of photo ops and potential airtime - do repairs and maintenance and maintain the quality of what we already have and get ignored.

Anonymous said...

Jim - Feiner had the town buy a big park in East Irvington that, as you correctly noted, no one can even access let alone find. We cannot afford Feiner style government by press release.

Anonymous said...

"If folks do not litter then there will just be no problem."

Yes and no. It's not just litter, but years of neglect to use a weedwacker, a lawnmower and a street sweeper in many areas. And the neglect of these basic services begets an apparent welcome of litter. There's a whole psychology of litter within the realm of environmental psychology. If streets are swept and areas of overgrown weeds, rubble and debris are cut back (i.e. Central Park Avenue between the Yonkers line and Ardsley Road), there is a lesser likelihood that they would be attractive to those who selfishly choose to litter.

hal samis said...

Just three votes for or three votes against.

There has never been a vote
Feiner, yes; Feiner, yes; Feiner, yes.

I'm sure that bloggers mean only to save space when they write Feiner's name only, right?

Feiner Unconstitutional? said...

To 4/15 @ 2:28

What are the penalties should Feiner be found to have acted unconstitutionally????

Mr. X said...

What do we do when some residents make their front yard look like garbage dumps? Could the Police or a Town Official please look at # 55 Stonewall Circle, Greenburgh, NY 10607. They have stored garbage outside their home for several months, it is an ungodly sight and depleting the price of houses in the neighborhood. The town or Police should tour this whole circle and there should be some code to correct these people who make the circle look ugly.