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Raleigh's Curbside Pickup Plan Draws Complaints

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RALEIGH, N.C. — After months of bickering, Raleigh is rolling out its new curbside trash cans in an effort to eliminate back-door pickups. However, the effort to streamline the system is still meeting plenty of resistance.

George Yelverton, who owns 118 apartment units at the Cottages on Grant Avenue, said he did not know the new trash containers were coming.

"They were dumped here in no pragmatic manner," he said.

Yelverton said at least 50 renters cannot move the mandatory containers to the curb because of steep terrain and they are not alone.

City Councilman Philip Isley said he has heard from at least a dozen people complaining about the new program.

"People having to drag them up hills without sidewalks and stairs, it appears to be a mess," he said.

More than 15,000 city trash cans are in circulation right now. Officials said that number grows by 1,200 cans every day. The city manager said 90 percent of the customers are satisfied with the system. Supporters claim the program is flexible, so if customers have a problem getting trash to the curb, just call and the city may make an exception.

"Let's just work with them. Make it as efficient as possible, but we don't want you to walk a quarter of a mile to take garbage out," City Councilwoman Janet Cowell said.

However, Cowell said there are limits.

"We found if we exempted all townhomes that would be a half-million dollars every year and we were going to save $3.5 million, so you'd be taking a large chuck of savings out," she said.

Right now, anyone who is handicapped or over 65 years old can get an exemption and keep the back-door collection service. City staff members are working to better define "rough terrain" for exemption purposes.


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