Beacon Hill Civic Association Community Corner

As of July 1, 2019, trash and recycling collection in the City of Boston generally and on Beacon Hill specifically will begin one hour earlier at 6:00 a.m., instead of beginning at the usual 7:00 a.m. trash and recycling pick up time. The City maintains that this earlier time will allow workers to get a jump-start on their day-long collection efforts, reducing traffic congestion on city streets during peak hours. 

The picture shows what happened to resident’s garbage left out on Charles Street on Thursday night


The picture shows the work of a scavenger on Hancock Street on Friday morning

 There is some doubt, however, whether moving the pick up to 6:00 a.m., which is still during rush hour, would actually reduce traffic congestion at all.  Moreover, many Beacon Hill residents are very concerned that the earlier 6:00 a.m. time for picking up trash and recycling will lead to many more people putting out their trash the night before pick up day, which will only lead to even more rats feeding on garbage and exacerbating an already serious problem.

For many years, the Beacon Hill Civic Association has actively encouraged our residents to not put out trash the night before pick up day, but instead to put trash only on the morning of trash pick up day.  Many of our residents have adopted this protocol, which has resulted in much less garbage being on our neighborhood streets overnight, and therefore, much less food being available for the rats to eat at night.

Moving the trash and recycling pickup start one hour earlier, to 6:00 a.m., instead of beginning at the usual 7:00 a.m. time, will force many of our residents to put out their trash and recycling the night before, and therefore will be a huge step backwards in our decades-long efforts to reduce the rat problems on Beacon Hill.  We urge the City to reconsider this change!

The City has responded to this concern in the media by saying that many residents “already” put their trash out the night before any way, so the change will not have a big effect on the trash put out overnight.  This is totally wrong, however, as many Beacon Hill residents wait until morning just before 7am to put out their trash – and more and more residents have been following their neighbors lead. 

• Moreover, Beacon Hill residents well know how the “rat hazard” on the Hill is directly connected to trash.  Unfortunately, the City’s new trash pickup time will lead to more rats in our neighborhood.

• In addition to the increase in rats in our neighborhood that will result from the change in the proposed trash pick-up start time to 6am, the new start time will also result in there being garbage trucks on Beacon Hill beginning at 6am – well before they should be allowed to be here.

• The Boston Municipal Code sets the standard for noise that is unreasonable or excessive and sets regulations on what kind of noise levels are generally acceptable after certain hours.  Under these rules, anything louder than 50 decibels from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. is considered “unreasonable” and not allowed, and garbage trucks typically have noise levels ranging from 80 to 100 decibels, or more!  As such, the garbage trucks that will be sent to Beacon Hill beginning at 6am will be in violation of the City’s own noise rules!

All of these issues were raised at the Beacon Hill Civic Association’s “Town Hall Meeting” on June 19, 2019.  Chris Osgood, the City of Boston’s Chief of Streets, Transportation and Sanitation; and Brian Coughlin, the City’s Superintendent of Waste Reduction Sanitation, spoke to over 50 concerned neighbors about this new pick-up time.  The residents attending this meeting were unanimous in their opposition to the new, earlier trash pick-up start time.   In a recent survey taken by the BHCA, the neighborhood’s overwhelming opposition to this change was shown with 86% opposed to the time change, 11% in favor and 4% unsure.

Although the July 1st start of the new schedule will go forward, the city representatives present agreed to work with the BHCA in the near future to assess the actual effects of this change. In the meantime, please continue to send your comments and questions to [email protected]

Upcoming BHCA Meetings

Tuesday, July 2: Streets & Sidewalks Committee Meeting. 74 Joy Street. 6:30pm.

Wednesday, July 3: Cambridge Street Committee Meeting. 74 Joy Street. 6pm.

Zoning & Licensing Committee Meeting. 74 Joy Street. 7pm.

Other upcoming BHCA Events

Beacon Hill Meet & Greet – Monday, July 1st

Evening on the Esplanade – Wednesday, July 17th

District 8 City Councilor Candidates Forum – Tuesday, September 10th

BHCA Fall HillFest – Sunday, September 22nd

Visit the Beacon Hill Civic Association website bhcivic.org or call the office (617-227-1922) for further details on any of these events, and for information about joining the BHCA.

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