Community Board 3 officials learned last Thursday during a committee meeting that the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) will use part of 10th Street west of First Avenue to park garbage trucks.
By Saturday, new street signs had arrived [per a resident, the signs arrived a few weeks back. See comments], restricting the parking on part of 10th Street west toward Second Avenue to the Department of Sanitation. The trucks arrived on Saturday as well.
[Top two photos by Steven]
[Photo from Saturday]
Everyone was seemingly caught off guard by this parking development, including the Community Board, local business owners and residents.
"There was no discussion or outreach. We are still gathering information on this issue," Trever Holland, chair of CB3's Parks, Recreation, & Waterfront Committee, told me via email. "Most of the questions we asked went unanswered or [the DSNY said] 'we'll get back to you.'"
The DSNY no longer has use of their garage at 606 W. 30th St., and are relocating their fleet elsewhere, including 10th Street and at Pier 36. None of these trucks will be servicing residents within Community Board 3.
"We have very little information from the DSNY, but many, many complaints," CB3 District Manager Susan Stetzer said yesterday. "I have never before received so many complaints in such a short time."
In an email, one EVG reader noted: "Over the weekend, three stinky garbage trucks were parked on the block. It was like a wall of stench in front of Pinks and across from Snowdays and Tarallucci e Vino."
Pinks, the bar-restaurant at 242 E. 10th St., is the business most directly impacted by the arrival of the parked trucks.
"I can firmly attest to the fact that Saturday evening the corner of 10th Street and First Avenue is jammed with people, and at that time on Saturdays, Pinks typically has a nice dinner and drinking crowd," said Alex Sassaris, an owner who also bartends on the weekends. "This past Saturday during the same time the bar was practically empty.
"Keep in mind we are a food-service establishment, with the cellar door just a few feet a way from a truck filled with garbage — that's certainly a potential rodent nightmare on our hands."
Rodent potential aside, Sassaris said the trucks parked in front of the bar also present a possible security issue.
"[We are] obstructed from the view of 9th Precinct patrols," he said. "This poses a substantial danger to our patrons and staff for any number of potential threats ... if the police can not have eyes on the bar from the street."
[Image from security footage at Pinks]
Before Theater for the New City moved into its current home at 155 First Ave. near 10th Street in the late 1980s, the Department of Sanitation used the building for storage. As Off the Grid noted in a 2012 feature, "When the Theater for the New City purchased the former First Avenue Retail Market building there was stipulation that they had to still share part of the space with the Sanitation Department for a time."
Apparently there are still facilities for the city to use in the building. According to last week's CB3 committee meeting agenda, Department of Sanitation officials were on-hand to discuss a "reactivation of Section Station at 155-157 First Ave."
It's not immediately clear how long the city plans to park garbage trucks on 10th Street. According to CB3's Holland, sanitation officials said that it will be "temporary" — like five years or longer until they secure a new spot.
"If this is allowed to continue, our business is certainly in jeopardy and all the people we employ could potentially be out of a job," Sassaris said.
Here's an update from CB3 District Manager Susan Stetzer this morning:
I also want to thank the readers who posted information about the trucks. The CB number posted in the comments is not correct — it is a defunct fax number. However, it is not productive to call — we would be doing nothing but answering the phones. Do call 311 and also do submit a "make a complaint" form on the CB website. At this point it would be good to submit only if new information. For example, we just got a complaint through the website that there are now trucks also parking in areas not reserved for the trucks.
CB 3, CB 6 and the council office were informed of this decision shortly before it happened, with little information, and with no input or choice. However, we will be working together to try to have a better resolution.