By Brian Maass

DENVER (CBS4)– Some 2,500 residents of Denver’s Congress Park neighborhood recently received notification from the City of Denver that their trash would no longer be picked up in the alley but would have to be wheeled down to the street in front of their homes. Some have made it clear they believe the change stinks.

(credit: CBS)

“It doesn’t make any sense to me. We have alleyways for a reason,” said Kyle Rose.

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His home sits on a narrow lot with a steep grassy hill in front. He said wheeling his full trash bin from the alley to the street will entail rolling it over window wells, through narrow spaces and gates then down a steep hill. He says he doesn’t want to store full, stinky trash receptacles at the front of his house.

“It’s quality of life. You want to live in a nice neighborhood and not keep your trash bins in front of your house,” said Rose.

Several houses to the south, neighbor Lorraine Parker said rolling recycling and compost bins to the street has already led to falls and stitches for her spouse.

“She tripped and fell and cut her lip open and got stitches,” said Parker.

(credit: CBS)

She said rolling heavy trash bins down her front steps with snow and ice would be even more problematic. Parker and Rose both said they felt the new city order would be an extreme hardship on the elderly and disabled.

“Once you have it filled with trash,” said Rose, “It’s not easy.”

The neighborhood is filled with many homes set on hills with stairs. Most do not have driveways or street-facing garages.

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Teresa St. Peter, a Denver City Council aide, said she has compiled a number of concerns from residents that have been forwarded to the Department of Transporation and Infrastructure:

  • Garbage cans kept in from of homes may end up leaving trash in streets
  • Garbage cans on streets will impede parking
  • Hard for the elderly to move heavy trash receptacles

Nancy Kuhn, a spokesperson for Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure said the change is being made to increase efficiency and safety.

“Right now we have trucks running in front picking up your compost and recycling and a different truck in the back picking up trash. The goal is to have all three services being picked up in one spot- in this case, in the front.”

(credit: CBS)

The consolidation of pickup is designed to reduce trucks on streets, reduce fuel use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Kuhn said trash trucks that roll down alleys have two-man crews who have to move trash cans which is an increased safety risk for workers. She said the trash trucks that pick up bins in the street have just a driver and are automated, decreasing safety risks.

Some residents have complained they were not consulted about the change and had only a few days’ notice.

“We recognize and acknowledge it would have been helpful to give folks some more advance notice and we apologize for that,” said Kuhn.

Kuhn said half of Denver residents already are wheeling barrels to their curbs. She said DOTI is looking at residents’ concerns on a “case by case basis. We provide service to a large city with unique neighborhoods and conditions. When we are unable to provide the type of service some residents would like, we will provide the reasons for our operational requirements.”

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She said residents with concerns about the new procedure should contact the city to see about getting their concerns resolved.

Brian Maass