Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) met this morning with NYC Department of Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia and her top brass to further his call to address key issues facing the community, including sanitation pick-ups impeding school buses in the morning. Assemblyman Hikind has been pushing this agenda for months while working closely with representatives of the community’s bus drivers who joined him today at the Commissioner’s office.
Hikind explained to the assembled group how morning garbage pick-ups in Boro Park continue to make a bad situation worse. “Our community is genuinely unique in terms of this issue,” Hikind explained. “Thank G-d our families many children and there are many schools, each with their own buses. But our buses are delayed when sanitation pick-ups occur simultaneously. The traffic situation becomes a nightmare and everyone, including the children, are unfairly burdened. We aren’t asking for special treatment but we need an understanding of our culture which, at the end of the day, will benefit everyone including sanitation workers.”
Flanked by representatives of the community’s bus drivers, Assemblyman Hikind enumerated the importance of rescheduling sanitation pick-ups so Boro Park is free of collections between the hours of 7:30 am and 9:30 am.
Commissioner Kathryn Garcia discussed how Assemblyman Hikind’s request has been taken very seriously and how her team is analyzing the problem and potential solutions. Her team had specific logistical questions that the Assemblyman, his staff and the bus drivers’ reps addressed.
“I am delighted with the seriousness that Commissioner Garcia and her staff are treating our issue with,” Hikind said after the meeting. “They are working with us to share the complexities that they face when attempting to reroute collections, which include not just mileage and collection weights but also union issues and existing service level agreements. In the end, I’m confident that we will see a solution that is mutually satisfying.”
Other issues addressed at the meeting were Sanitation violations on Shabbos and the Yomim Tovim. The Commissioner responded that tickets should never be written after 3pm eruv-Shabbos. Assemblyman Hikind further emphasized how the situation is similar on Yom Tovim and eruv-Yom Tov.
Assemblyman Hikind also discussed the value of Sanitation Enforcement Officers using cameras to capture images of Sanitation infractions. “This would effectively eliminate bogus tickets, which we’ve experienced in our community.” Assemblyman Hikind first introduced this issue via a bill three years ago with NYS Senator Jeff Klein, which he plans to reintroduce this coming legislative session.
Other Sanitation officials who attended the meeting were Dennis Diggins (First Deputy Commissioner), Steven W. Costas (Director), Henry Ehrhardt (Director of Community Service and Government Relations), and Maria Termini Miller (Administrative Community Relations Specialist).
Assemblyman Hikind noted that other individuals actively involved with this issue were Yidel Perlstein (Chairman of Community Board 12), Barry Spitzer (District Manager of Community Board 12) and other elected officials.