Boston residents packed the City Council Chamber last month for a hearing on a Home Rule Petition introduced by City Councilors Felix Arroyo and Mike Ross to allow the city to regulate commercial trash collection timing that currently wakes up neighbors in the middle of the night.
Arroyo said, “This is a very reasonable proposal that would allow the City of Boston to address the concerns of its residents. Noisy trucks are picking up trash literally feet away from the doors and windows of residences at 2, 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning. At the moment, there is nothing that can be done to prevent this disturbance to our residents on a nightly basis and that must be changed.”
Currently, the City of Boston has the authority to regulate residential trash collection, but does not have the same authority to regulate the timing of commercial trash collection. Residents from throughout the city reached out to Arroyo’s office reporting loud garbage trucks in back alleys at all hours of the night waking up their families and disturbing the neighborhood with the unreasonably loud trash pick up.
“Annoyance? This is more than an annoyance for us,” said Back Bay resident Ann Canning, who was one of many residents to testify at the hearing of the excessive noise level caused by multiple trucks throughout the night.
Ross, whose district includes Back Bay, Beacon Hill, the West End and Fenway neighborhoods, said his office has consistently received calls regarding this issue.
“The state really has no business telling the city of Boston when it should have its trash picked up,” Ross said at the hearing.
Both Arroyo and Ross have been working collaboratively with State Reps. Marty Walz and Aaron Michlewitz to make this change at the state level.
“State law prohibits Boston from regulating the hours of commercial trash collection. said
Walz, whose district includes the Back Bay, Beacon Hill and the West End. “This is unfair to the city and its residents. We need to change the law so we can balance the need for appropriate trash collection from local businesses with residents’ desire to sleep during the pre-dawn hours.”
Walz said she has received numerous complaints for many years about this problem.
While city officials at the hearing pointed to traffic and rodent mitigation as concerns to moving commercial trash collection times, Arroyo indicated that both issues could be solved through the passage of this Home Rule Petition.
“Frankly, there is no regulation now,” Arroyo said. “Concerns can be solved if the city is given the authority to regulate times these trucks are in our neighborhoods. We want to work to ensure that everyone has the quality of life that they deserve and the City of Boston deserves this authority to help achieve that goal.”