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Addressing Litter in Buffalo – What’s the Answer?

Every Fall, the Mayor stands next to the City’s fleet of snowplows announcing that City workers are ready to do battle against the snow, thus laying to rest any worries that our streets won’t be clear of snowfall (no matter how great).

I wish that the Mayor would do the same thing for a fleet of street cleaners. Why? Because I personally have not seen one this summer, and there’s a lot of litter/trash/garbage out there.

Unlike snowplows that are let loose on designated sides of street, depending on parking ordinances, there are no designated days to clear a side of the street for street cleaners. Even if there was a street cleaner on the prowl. Is that why there are no sightings of street cleaners anywhere? Is it because they can’t get to the curbs? What do other cities do to combat street litter? This can’t just be a Buffalo-centric problem.

The photo above (and below) is of Niagara Street, taken yesterday. I was heading to LaSalle Park when I took the photo. When I arrive at LaSalle Park, I could not believe the amount of garbage that was strewn around the picnic shelters at the Centennial Pool. The trash was as far as the eye could see, right up to DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) Drive. I am aware that a street cleaner can’t pick up trash on city park lawns, but the sight of the trash brought up an even larger issue – what are we doing to clean up our city streets, and what’s the best way to keep our city parks litter-free?

There have been attempts made at curbing litter on the West Side, thanks to new multi-lingual signage being adhered to lamp standards on Grant Street (learn more). Grant Street has had a major litter issue for decades. I recently wrote about the garbage plight in my own neighborhood, brought on by convenience stores. Then there were the two times that I cleaned up around my block this summer, not to mention my daily/weekly litter pick-ups.

Earlier in the year, a Buffalo Rising reader emailed me and said that he couldn’t believe all of the litter that he was seeing in the city. He wrote that his family was visiting from out of town, and as much as they loved Buffalo, they could not believe the amount of litter that they came across during their travels. Granted, that was early spring, which is always a given, when the snow melts, but the issue has apparently not been improving since that time.

To me, this is a quality of life issue. Nobody wants to live in a filthy city, especially considering that so much is going our way these days. Similar to snow removal, I believe that maintaining a clean city is of utmost importance. It would be great to see the Mayor launch some new urban cleanup initiatives, that would address the ongoing issues pertaining to litter in our streets, along our sidewalks, and in our off the beaten path parks.

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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