The Central Park Conservancy has been moving trash cans in the park, trying to get them out of landscaped areas where people congregate and push the cans to the periphery. The decision is meant to make the park more attractive, make trash-pickup more efficient and keep the “pests” away. In the process they’ve removed some of the 600 or so cans that are placed throughout the park.
The decision is not sitting well with some dog-owners.
In fact, one of our tipsters says her daughter noticed a rebellion of sorts at locations where cans were removed: “the rebellion is picking up steam — several packages of poop left in locations where garbage bins used to be,” she wrote in an email to us.
Dena Libner, public relations manager for the Central Park Conservancy, said that she hadn’t heard about the poo-bag rebellion, but “we would expect parks visitors to walk an extra 50 feet to dispose of their trash rather than asking conservancy workers to do it for them.” In general, dog-walkers should like the changes, she said, because they mean fewer vehicles will be driving on the roads to pick up trash and disrupt their walks. The conservancy has heard from about 3 people who wanted to know where the trash cans had gone since changes started taking place last year, but called the complaints “extremely limited.” The changes have mostly affected the Southern part of the park, particularly the 60’s and 70’s. (The NYC Parks Department didn’t respond to our requests for comment.)
Our tipster, who wishes to be known as “Steamed in Central Park” (I know her and she’s quite reliable), says that she spoke to a parks employee who indicated that the parks department wants people to start carrying their trash out of the park.
“Well, let me tell you, it’s no fun carrying your dog’s poop around for half an hour (and a disincentive to picking it up) — and I have a little dog. It’s a much bigger problem for large dog owners who need two hands to control their dog, plus it’s obviously grosser. The dog owners are pretty mad and as my dog has an unfortunate habit of snacking on the ‘remains of the day’, I have already noticed more giant piles of unpicked-up poop.”
Mark, a professional dog-walker I met this week, said he’s seen more poo left on the ground in recent days. “Maybe they don’t want to walk farther to throw it out,” he speculated, as he guided two dogs past a pile of discarded excrement. He said he hadn’t seen people leaving poo-bags where garbage cans used to be; I also didn’t notice any on a recent walk in the park just North of 72nd Street.
Libner says that the conservancy has removed very few trash bins (she couldn’t give a specific number). For the most part, they’ve simply moved existing cans to new locations. She called the plan “just a test” and said that it could be modified if it’s deemed to not be working. But if people can simply adjust their routines slightly, they’ll see that the changes are clearly for the best, the conservancy argues. Libner sent us this article from Ohio that says state parks workers found that removing trash cans actually resulted in parks becoming cleaner. When people were forced to use “carry out” trash, they were more likely to clean up their messes, the article argues.
“For people who have become used to seeing a can in a particular spot, they’ll find another spot that’s just as convenient and the benefits will be worth it,” she said.
Our tipster isn’t convinced: “Moving cans to the periphery of the park means ‘take your trash with you.'”
“I can only imagine how awful things will get litterwise when the spring comes and the park is populated by daytrippers vs the fairly responsible winter crowd of dog walkers, bike riders and joggers who are more invested in keeping the park clean and usable.”
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.