The decision has many upset, including Assemblyman Joe Lentol, who wrote a letter in the early part of February to the Mayor’s Office of Operations, demanding to know how the DSNY goes about determining the state of cleanliness.
“I am unclear as to how these ratings are calculated,” he wrote in the letter. “What are the criteria by which a street or Sanitation District is deemed to be 90 percent clean?”
Lentol said he was recently in Forest Hills, and that their streets look equally clean in comparison to Greenpoint’s streets, yet they only have one street cleaning day.
Many residents in the area feel the streets are clean and some, like George Crocker, have been pushing to have alternate side parking reduced for more than a year.
“I have been in contact with Councilman Steve Levin’s office, sent letters to Mayor Bloomberg asking why the Greenpoint area continues to have four day a week alternate side parking when for years, surrounding areas have only two days,” he said. “I continue to get the same response that it’s under review by the Sanitation Department.”
When reached for comment, a DSNY spokesperson reiterated that according to their determination, the streets did not meet the benchmark of 90 percent cleanliness.
“Sanitation has evaluated the request and has given it careful consideration. A review of this past fiscal year’s scorecard rating shows that for three consecutive months (February-April) the average percent of acceptably clean streets fell below 90 percent, as well as FY 2011 average,” said Kathy Dawkins, a spokeswoman for the department. “Because of this, the department decided to decline the request at this time due to the impact on cleanliness.”
The response did not impress Lentol.
“They clearly don’t want to do this in our neighborhood and I don’t know why,” he said.
The scorecard used by DSNY is a measurement of street cleanliness throughout the five boroughs. The scorecard is completed by the Mayor's Office of Operations and used by Sanitation as an effective management tool for maintaining street cleanliness levels.
“Four days a week cleaning is excessive, the cost savings to the city should be of interest to the city, mayor and taxpayers,” Crocker said.
He feels that all alternate side parking should be changed to two days.
Crocker also suggested that the department use the Litterbug Law to help keep the streets clean, but Dawkins said the littering violation is one of the most difficult to issue.
“The violator must be caught in the action of littering and must surrender identification in order to be issued a summons,” she said. “And not just littering – proper packaging of refuse – regular cleaning by property owners, building managers and merchants all are factors.”
In Brooklyn alone, for FY2010, 808 individual tickets were handed out for littering. In FY2011, that number was 728. And in FY2012, 283 individual tickets were given.
Dawkins said the community board could apply again – once they have two consecutive fiscal years with a rating of 90 percent or above.
Lentol sent his letter after DSNY determined that they would not reduce the days, but said that he has not received a response back from the mayor’s office yet.
“To my understanding and to my untrained eye, the streets don’t look as if they’re not clean,” he said. “It’s disturbing.”