Bowing to concerns expressed by some members of the City Council, Public Works Department officials have abandoned their effort to slap a parking ban on certain crowded car-lined streets during the hours of refuse collection.
Instead, they will seek to give residents, who can right now can park their container on the tree lawn or driveway apron, the option to put it in the street against the curb, at least three feet away from any parked car.
Cans would be permitted in the street as early as 6 p.m. on the day before trash collection. The action would effectively seize the space and basically prohibit cars from parking in the area. The can would be removed from the street once it is emptied and returned by the collection truck’s hydraulic arm to a spot off of the street.
The push for a parking ban originated after the city decided to expand its recycling program over the next three years and issue residents another 96-gallon container specifically for recyclables.
Large recycling can would encourage more recycling
Program administrators believe the large recycling cans will lead to greater levels of recycling, thereby reducing the amount of money the city must spent to send trash to the landfill, a key selling point for a municipality still under great economic pressure to squeeze cost savings out of every nook-and-cranny.
However, with twice as many cans to collect from tree lawns frequently blocked by parked cars, Public Works representatives were concerned the speed and efficiency of collection process would be negatively affected, and ultimately, made to be more costly.
Aside from a parking ban, the city also considered alternate collection days for refuse and recycling and the possibility of placing of all collection containers on one side of the street.
Police wonder about safety of putting cans in streets
Captain Gary Sprague said the Division of Police favored the parking ban because it would have helped it enforce the rule prohibiting cars from occupying the same on-street parking spot for more than 24 consecutive hours.
Sprague was somewhat worried that motorists could accidentally strike the containers, especially at night. There’s a law on the books preventing cars from parking within three-feet of a driveway, but nothing yet mandating the distance between a car and a can. Sprague also wondered how the overall parking situation would be affected when cans placed in the street consume a parking spot.
Program cost would be recouped in little over three years
According to a PowerPoint presentation provided to members of the Public Works Committee by Public Works Director Joseph Beno, the total cost of the expanded recycling program will be approximately $1.37 million. The price tag includes two new collection trucks and 18,000 plastic containers, which will be parceled out over three years.
In the three years after the program is fully implemented, Beno projects the city will see a savings of $740,000 by not replacing three refuse workers who leave or retire and another $600,000 savings in the reduction of garbage disposal fees due to more material being recycled.
Roughly 1,000 to 1,200 households in each of the city’s five refuse and recycling routes will be issued a container this fall, according to Beno.
Beno provided a preliminary map to the committee showing that containers will be provided to, among other places, most of the houses north of Clifton Boulevard, as well as pretty high concentration of streets between Woodward Avenue and Warren Road.
The decision to park waste and recycling cans in the street isn’t final. The City Council will have at least a couple of more meetings to fine-tune the situation.
In other news….Mayor provides updates on Rockport Square, Hidden Village, July 4th security measures, etc.
The 5:30 p.m. meeting time is kind of tricky for people with jobs and families, but residents should consider attending at least one of Mayor Michael Summers’ monthly Listening To Lakewood gatherings. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions and learn more about what’s going on in the city.
Summers met with a small group of residents on Tuesday at Rozi’s Wine House on Detroit Avenue. Here is a quick and dirty summary of some of the things that were discussed:
- City social workers are helping to find new housing for the group of senior citizens who are being evicted from the Westerly. Of the roughly three dozen seniors involved, only about 15 are still without someplace to go.
- Security will be significantly tighter at Lakewood Park for the Fourth of July. Tents and propane and gas grills will be banned. Police will conduct random inspections of peoples’ bags and coolers. The playgrounds and tennis courts will be cleared of people after 7:00 p.m. The moves are partly a result of the incident at the Boston Marathon…The fireworks show itself will be provided by the same company that bungled the display last year. They are doing it at no cost.
- The city will absolutely not be funding a return of the beloved RTA circulators. It will, however, this Friday begin to experiment with taxi cab vouchers for senior citizens. The mayor described the loss of the circulators as “a great leap backward in Lakewood.”
- The city will use a portion of the $245,000 Hurricane Sandy reimbursement it received from FEMA to buy six more public security surveillance cameras and to acquire a “FEMA trailer” with equipment to be used during times of emergency. Some of the cameras will be placed at Cove Park and the Gold Coast neighborhood.
- The city thought it might be losing $200,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) money due to sequestration, but was recently informed the opposite is true: it will be getting an extra $200,000.
- There are several sides to this story, but the decades-long negotiations with the Sisters of Charity to acquire rights to the parcel of land immediately to the west of Lakewood Park for purposes of park expansion and development seem to have run their course with the Mayor Summers administration…He had hoped to succeed where prior mayors failed, but didn’t have any luck. Mayor Summers found some of the demands made by the Sisters and their attorney odd, including the request that the city name a successor grantee in the event that the city ceased to exist. He also said that they inexplicably refused to sign a submerged lands lease.
- Forest City is “rounding third and heading home” on financing that would allow it to build a 3 or 4 story 140-unit “higher-end” apartment building at Rockport Square…the Foran Montlack project on Sloane Avenue remains “dormant.”
- Someone was taking a serious look at buying the vacant church building across from the Lakewood Public Library on Detroit Avenue (formally known as the First Church of Christ, Scientist church building). However, the deal “got cockeyed” when the building owner switched brokers. The mayor said he is “less confident today than six months ago” that the building would change hands. He added that “there’s lots of pressure building” on the property owner to make a move.
- There have been some informal conversations about the possibly converting the vacant McKinley Elementary School into 50 units of housing.
- Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur is hunting for office space in Lakewood. Mayor Summers said there was some interest in moving into the vacant building at the southwest corner of Marlowe and Detroit Avenues owned by the Cleveland Clinic. The deal didn’t go anywhere because Kaptur’s people were only willing to commit to a one-and-half-year lease and the Clinic has unclear plans for the building, which they claim is structurally unsound.
- The city is still tinkering with the timing of the lights on Detroit Avenue.
- The search to replace former Human Services director Dorothy “Dottie” Buckon is at an end. The mayor said the job will go to acting director Antoinette Gelsomino. Mayor Summers posted the position publicly and didn’t find the “transformational” leader he was seeking in the pool of applicants. Summers admitted one downside to the director’s gig is that he could only guarantee employment for that person for next two-and-a-half years, when his term as mayor expires.
- The city has no plans to try and provide city-wide free wi-fi.
- The mayor and his crew met with representatives from the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries in Cleveland regarding the unacceptable level of crime occurring at their youth re-entry program based within a portion of the Hidden Village apartment complex on Clifton Blvd. He provided them with concrete evidence of the problems there and asked them to review it and meet again to discuss solutions….Several months passed and he did not receive a return response. About six weeks ago, he invited them to city hall to discuss things further. The conversation result in “some creative ideas.” Going forward, the police and the city’s human services department will engage the re-entry program in ways they had not previously in an effort to build a better relationship. The scene may improve even further when the ministry gets a new president later this summer….Meanwhile, the owner of Hidden Village (totally separate from the ministry) still has a federal lawsuit pending against the city involving the re-entry program. It’s hung-up right now because of a pre-trial appeal. Mayor Summers said the city hadn’t been fussing with the property due to the lawsuit, but he changed the policy of “paralyzed enforcement” and is now treating them just like everyone else…In fact, he sent the property owner a letter in April warning him that Hidden Village was on the verge of being designated as a nuisance property due to the following incidents (all re-entry program-related): 8/5/12 – Robbery: Apts. D145, D148, D248, D146; 1/2/13 Rape: Apts. D245, D248; 3/25/13 – Robbery: Apts. C148, C233, D144, C237….According to the Mayor, the letter made the property owner “mad as hell.”