L.A. Pilot Program to Test In-Home Bulky Removal Service
Residents in first council district eligible for 6-moth trial.
By Jacqueline García, EGP Staff Writer
A new pilot program to “drastically change the way the City picks up bulky items” was launched last week in the east, northeast Los Angeles district of Los Angeles Councilman Gil Cedillo.
At a press conference April 24 at a home in the Cypress Park/Mount Washington area, Cedillo announced the city is exploring the benefits of allowing department of sanitation workers to remove unwanted furnisher, appliances and other bulky items from inside the homes of residents, and not just at curbside as currently required.
The 6-month program will offer 10 pickups per day — Monday through Friday — to First District residents, said Cedillo. A maximum of five items per household will be allowed. Reservations will be on a “first come, first served” basis, said Alex E. Helou, assistant director of the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation.
Since entering office, Cedillo has focused many of his office’s resources on tackling trash and illegal dumping issues in the district that includes Highland Park, Lincoln Heights, Chinatown, Echo Park, Westlake, MacArthur Park and the Mid-Cities region among other neighborhoods. This latest effort is an expansion of his office’s “clean up campaign,” which includes everything from targeted trash and bulky item removal to solar-powered trash compactors and signs reminding residents to keep the city clean.
While residents can already call 3-1-1 to arrange for the city to haul away bulky items like mattresses and sofas, not everyone makes the call before discarding the items on sidewalks, vacant lots or in alleys. And for some people the requirements may not be easy to meet.
“We have a policy where we ask our residents to put their bulky items outside for pick up and I found that unacceptable,” Cedillo told EGP. The items may be too heavy for some residents to get down to the street, “so I made a motion to change that to allow sanitation [workers] to go inside people’s homes,” the councilman said. They will “pick up [bulky items] like your own personal UPS, FedEx,” except this is a service paid for by residents’ tax dollars, he added.
Cedillo said the program will “eliminate the need to set bulky items outside, attracting more blight in our communities.”
People may be poor but that doesn’t mean they want to live in a place that is dirty,” he explained.
Cedillo previously told EGP that many of the programs he has started are intended to eliminate the bureaucratic inefficiencies that complicate the process to clean up trash and remove illegally dumped items, such as a city worker only removing a discarded mattress and leaving behind an old tire at the same spot because that’s the job of another city department.
However, last week he said keeping the community clean will ultimately come down to whether people in his district are willing to change their ways and to “stop thinking that you can throw your stuff out there and someone is going to come and pick it up.”
In the meantime, Helou said residents wanting the city to remove bully items from inside their homes will be required to sign a liability waiver before workers can enter. Ideally the resident should be home when sanitation workers arrive, but if they can’t be there, Helou said they can leave items on the front porch with a note that clearly identifies which things are to be picked up to prevent the wrong items from being hauled away,
The person arranging for the pick up and at the home when workers arrive must be 18 years or older. No more than five items will be removed per appointment, and all of the items must be free-standing and not affixed to walls or other surfaces; appliances must be unplugged from gas lines or electricity and items should fit easily through exit door.
The city is not responsible for damages to the items removed, and once off the homeowner’s property they cannot be returned.
The pilot program will be evaluated following the 6-month test period, said Helou. If it’s a success, “we will keep it and expand it to more council districts and hopefully across the city,” he added.
Residents can call LA Sanitation’s 24-hour line at (800) 773-2489 to schedule a pick-up during a four-hour collection window.
The communities in CD-1 are Glassell Park, Cypress Park, Highland Park, Mt. Washington, Solano Canyon, Elysian Park, Echo Park, Westlake, Angelino Heights, Temple Beaudry, Lafayette Park, Chinatown, Forgotten Edge, Lincoln Heights, Montecito Heights, Sycamore Grove, Pico Union, Adams-Normandie, University Park, Mid Cities and Mac Arthur Park.Print This Post
May 1, 2014 Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.