Trash and sanitation continue to be one of the top concerns among residents of Upper East Side, according to City Council Member Julie Menin, that’s why she’s teaming up with the NYC Department of Sanitation and two social services groups to make sure the neighborhood gets more trash pickups, more sidewalk cleanups and more work done to curb rat populations across the UES.
“District 5 is one of the densest [City Council] districts in the City of New York,” Council Member Menin explained Friday morning.
“That sheer density creates a real problem in terms of garbage and these quality of life issues.”
Standing at the corner of East 72nd Street and Second Avenue, in front of the busy Second Avenue Subway entrance, Menin announced she was allocating more City funding to the Sanitation Department— specifically to have their hard-working crews perform more trash can pickups on the Upper East Side through the next June.
It’s all thanks to $125,000 in funding through the Council’s Cleanup NYC initiative, which allows City Council Members use money for projects that make the City cleaner.
With the extra money, DSNY will increase collections from trash cans on street corners from a maximum three times a day, six days a week to four times a day, three days a week. Litter basket trash collection frequency will remain the same on the other four days of the week.
“Additional sanitation services are going to make a tremendous improvement in the cleanliness of our residential neighborhoods and busy commercial corridors,” Menin explained.
“The funding provided today will make a meaningful difference, reducing overflowing baskets and helping our City’s recovery,” said Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch.
Last January, shortly after taking office, Council Member Menin had teamed up with the Sanitation Department for a similar program, which ran through the end of June.
This time around, additional sidewalk cleanups and rat mitigation measures are also on the way— much needed efforts as the streets accumulate grime despite the return of full alternate side parking rules and rat sightings between East 59th and 96th Streets continue to skyrocket.
“Sanitation has a direct impact on quality of life,” said Valerie Mason, Vice President of the East 72nd Street Neighborhood Association.
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“Having another daily pick-up will surely help mitigate our vermin crisis,” she added.
567 rodent sightings on the UES have been reported to 311 this year, according to City data. That’s an increase of 13% over 2021, which doesn’t sound like much until you zoom out and see how rat sightings have skyrocketed over the past two years.
There were a total of just 245 rat sightings reported to 311 in 2017, the number stayed relatively flat until 2020. However, during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, reports of rodents nearly doubled to 437— then nearly doubled again in 2021 with 731 rat sighting reported on the UES.
The extra street cleanup efforts are made possible through $105,000 secured by Council Member Menin, which will fund teams from The Association of Community Employment Programs, or ACE, to clean sidewalks along busy UES corridors on First Avenue, Second Avenue and East 86th Street— removing and replacing full garbage bags and even clearing snow from crosswalks during the winter.
The Wildcat Service Corporation will also receive $10,000 to clean and bait tree beds across the Upper East Side.
“We’re going to see an immediate impact in our dense neighborhood that will improve the quality of life in our community,” Menin added.