Astoria Pols Hope New Mayor Can Help Bag Neighborhood's Trash Problem

By Jeanmarie Evelly on January 31, 2014 9:06am 

 A stuffed trash can near the Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard train station.
A stuffed trash can near the Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard train station.
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DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly

ASTORIA — A trio of elected officials in Astoria is appealing to the new mayor to help tackle the neighborhood's overwhelming trash problem.

Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, state Sen. Michael Gianaris and City Councilman Costa Constantinides want the neighborhood's public wastebaskets emptied more often, saying they get frequent complaints from constituents about the overflowing cans.

"Residents have continued to contact my office regarding the deplorable levels of trash strewn about the streets," Simotas said in a statement. "Inaction on this issue is unacceptable."

In a joint letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio last week, the officials asked that the city add an additional daily pickup service for public trash cans on Astoria's busy commercial streets.

The litter baskets used to be emptied more frequently, but pickups were decreased to just once a day five years ago because of budget cuts, sources said.

"As more and more New Yorkers come to Astoria we need more garbage trucks to keep our streets clean, not less," Gianaris said in a statement.

The public trash bins are currently emptied over night, and the lawmakers say they'd like to see the extra pickup service take place during the day, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., when "the majority of the problematic waste is generated."

Complaints about street litter are not new in Astoria. Simotas, Gianaris and Constantinides held a rally about the issue last fall, Constantinides campaigned on the promise of cleaning up the neighborhood's streets, and residents have called for more public trash cans.

"I've heard from residents time and again about the depth of their frustration over how dirty our streets have become," Constantinides said in a statement. "Additional pick-ups will make our streets substantially cleaner."

A spokesperson for the Sanitation Department said the mayor received the letter and has asked the department to look into the politicians' concerns.

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