Bicoastal Garbage Disposal Practices

Via a Streetsblog tipster: In Valley Village, Calif., near L.A., people leave their trash in the bike lane for the convenience of the sanitation crews.



Here in New York, we sometimes leave it where cars would otherwise park. Here’s a photo taken at midnight in a place where the sign says no standing from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.


  • If the LA model means that the trucks don’t occupy the bike lane (stopping instead in the far-right traffic lane), then it would seem to be superior, no?

  • Steve

    I have a similar problem with the DOT bike rack installed on the sidewalk in front of my home. In anticipation of garbage collection, the building next door piles its trash bags on top of it so no one can lock up.

  • Surely neither of these is desirable?

    Why do cities not require all buildings & homes to have proper garbage storage & removal facilities? Isn’t some amount of garbage a universal truth? Shouldn’t engineering therefore always accommodate for it, rather than off-loading its cost to public infrastructure?

    NYC’s many brownstones leaving trash on the sidewalks on a weekly basis is bad enough; new development using the same methods of garbage removal is an affront to the community.

    There should be space in the building for compacting, storage & removal, including a place for carriers (trucks, hoverbikes, whatever) to enter, gather the garbage, and leave. If not in the building, then outside on the building’s grounds. Not on public sidewalks & streets.

  • Steve

    Adam, there are rules about this kind of thing–I’m pretty sure garbage can only be put on the evening before it is to be picked up. This is well enforced, as garbage sitting for days (in Manhattan at least) is guaranteed to become infested with rats. In my situation, I’ve got a large residential building next to me producing lots of garbage, which is separated for recycling and put out on 3 different days, meaning 3/5 weekdays the rack is blocked. One thing that does annoy me particulalry is that the buildings on Park Avenue like to pile their garbage on the side streets (even if they have minimal or even no frontage on the side street) in order to preserve the aesthetic beauty of Park Avenue.

    Hilary, I suppose trash cans present a lesser hazard than vehicles, but it’s not much of an improvement.

  • Yeah, I know there are rules, I was just being a little facetious. But I do think there should be better solutions for such a basic part of life than “put it on the street at certain times.”

  • I live in Los Angeles, and I cannot tell you terrifying it is to have traffic blowing by me at twice my speed (while I’m riding at 20 mph or more on Venice Blvd.), and having an irregular row of trash cans pop up in front of me.

    I’m pretty sure the practice is illegal, but people do it to keep a parking space open where trash cans against the curb block their spot.

  • Nicolo Machiavelli

    Again, one of the many civic enterprises where the US falls badly behind Europe. Of all the European cities on Napoli stoops to our level of street sanitation.

  • alex

    After reading ubrayj02’s comment, perhaps the super is placing trash on the bike rack to save some space for his buddies to park their bikes.

    I was going to email you a link to this streetsblog post… I guess you found it without my help – nice to know your checking out the right coast.

  • brent

    I park my bike on the street usually in the same spot. At least once a week I find about a dozen garbage bags piled up directly on my bike!!! Just fuel for the fire man.

  • Steve

    Brent’s experience is illustrative. What is the likelihood of people piling garbage on top of a car? This is a perfect example of how bikes and bicyclists have a second class status compared to cars and motorists in the eyes of most New Yorkers. There IS a “civil rights-like” dimension to bicycle advocacy.

  • brent

    Steve- I believe piling garbage on top of cars is a federal offense punishable by public stoning.


Memorial Ride Tonight for Two Manhattan Cyclists

There will be a memorial ride tonight for two cyclists killed last week. Alvaro Olson and Jian-Lan Zhang both died last Wednesday, April 16. Both were struck by delivery trucks. As of last week no charges had been filed in either case. Here is tonight’s schedule (times approximate): 7:00 Meet in Union Square 7:30 Ride […]