FOLLOWUP: Metro’s trash-can turnabout

(UPDATED FRIDAY NIGHT with trash can’s arrival)

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9:24 PM: Another followup tonight: This one, in the case of the 61st/Alki bus stop that is without a trash can because Metro says the one it used to have was used too much. On Wednesday, we published the response that Diana got from Metro after asking them to place a can there – it boiled down to “no.” We followed up with Metro spokesperson Jeff Switzer, including a question of whether it’s Metro policy to remove trash cans that are much-used. This evening, he sent word that they’ve changed their mind and will try a trash can there again:

Our records show Metro hasn’t had a trash can at that site since 2012 after seeing a pattern of it being misused by nearby businesses and residents, with home garbage showing up at the bus stop. It reached the point that our facilities crews were regularly receiving work orders and complaints about garbage, so we decided to remove it.

One of our thresholds in deciding whether to remove a trash can is if a location becomes so problematic that it generates a large number of work orders and crew time cleaning up a persistent problem, something that stretches beyond a transit issue into a community issue.

That said, we’re going to put a new 35-gallon can out there in the next few days, and will monitor how things go. If problems re-emerge beyond what Metro can address, we’ll see if we can get some help from the city and businesses to supply additional trash cans in the area.

We’ll keep an eye out for the new can – please let us know if you see it first.

ADDED FRIDAY NIGHT: The trash can has arrived. Diana sent the photo to prove it:

Trash Can 6-10-16

27 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Metro's trash-can turnabout"

  • Justin June 9, 2016 (9:30 pm)

    Thanks WSB, for being a voice for common sense.

  • New Thinking Needed June 9, 2016 (10:16 pm)

    How about getting a BigBelly Solar can like at the Rapid Ride C  stop at the Super Deli  on 35th and Barton? 

     A nice large can with a hinged door opening so the birds can’t pull trash out. I don’t know if the BigBelly belongs to Metro or the Super Deil store but it looks pretty tidy at that bus stop. Just an idea for Metro to ponder….now that they have stepped up to do the right thing.

    • Michael Lindblom June 10, 2016 (7:31 am)

      A solar compactor isa good answer, ideally sponsored in part by businesses nearby.  

      There are city trash and recycling cans a few feet away, and typically I will use those because the bus stop trash bin overflows.

      Several months ago, the SDOT was taking proposals for downtown “street furniture” in which one of the big marketing companies would (supposedly) place so many ads on kiosks, bus shelters, benches and so forth that SDOT would actually make money, but that stalled out.

  • At least it's an ethos June 9, 2016 (10:31 pm)

    It would be nice if they would empty the trash can at 35th and Cambridge.  It’s been overflowing for weeks.

  • Jill June 9, 2016 (11:10 pm)

    I’d like to see trash cans at all the bus stops! Or at least containers for cigarette butts. I wonder if we could get businesses to sponsor them by emptying them, if DOT would supply them. It would make all the sidewalks and areas around bus stops much neater and cleaner. 

    • cjboffoli June 9, 2016 (11:21 pm)

      As I understand it, it is unlawful to smoke cigarettes at bus stops in King County.  That might be why they don’t have special containers for cigarette butts at Metro bus stops.

      • Gorillita June 14, 2016 (7:49 am)

        You are right re the no smoking at bus stops law.  However, enforcement is nil.  The police have enough to do without patrolling bus stops for smokers.  I am not sure if the fare enforcement cops have the authority to cite smokers.   If it could be enforced, the word would get out.  “Hey, man we’d better not smoke right here [bus stop].  My brother/cousin/friend/neighbor got a big ticket for doing that.”

  • Amrakx June 10, 2016 (6:27 am)

    Way to go Diana, see something say something, being proactive is the core of positive energy in an active community.

    Another resource the city has availed active residents of is Seattle.gov Find it Fix it, great free application with proven results!

  • anonyme June 10, 2016 (6:37 am)

    Smoking is prohibited within 25 ft. of a bus shelter.  That doesn’t prevent many of them from being used as private smoking lounges.  I seldom use the shelters for that reason.  The ground in front of the benches is usually so littered with cigarette butts (and the accompanying globs of sputum) that I don’t want to step there.   Asking someone not to smoke in a shelter is like asking someone to leash their dog.

    Removing a trash can because it is too well used sounds like typical Seattle logic to me.

    • clulessinws June 11, 2016 (12:23 am)

      Always love your comments. I often feel the same way but cannot phrase things as eloquently as you.

  • d June 10, 2016 (7:30 am)

    Metro should be required by law to have a trash can at each bus stop and empty it every day if not  fine them $1,000 a day per stop and if that don’t work shut them down they’re basically forcing people to litter misuse or not that is a bunch of crap

    • Amy June 10, 2016 (3:35 pm)

      Shut down Metro for not emptying garbage cans?? Talk about throw out the baby with the bath water! SMH

    • Shawn June 11, 2016 (10:46 am)

      This train of thought doesn’t follow logic or reasoning. 

  • Marty2 June 10, 2016 (8:02 am)

     I rarely ride a Metro bus, but I pay their portion of the sales tax and added fee for my car tabs.  I have no problem with this because Metro provides a service for the good of all of us in the community.  Obviously people are using Metro’s trash cans, which is also good for the community in reducing litter, hopefully Metro will look at this issue as a member of the community and allow me to put my empty coffee cup in their trash cans once in a while.

    • KT June 10, 2016 (9:53 am)

      I cannot believe I am going to say something positive about Metro.  I’m sorry but Metro is here to provide bus service.  It is not a waste collection agency.  That is the City of Seattle’s job which, I might add, they do very poorly of down on Alki as evidenced by the recent media reports after the holiday.  Metro should not be responsible for picking up household and business trash that people choose to deposit at bus stops period.  

      • Amy June 10, 2016 (3:41 pm)

        Born and raised in Seattle then moved almost 5 years ago to a place where there is no public transportation.  So glad to be back in a city that has one of the best public  transportation systems in the country. How hard would it be for Waste Management to put on a route to pick up trash at bus stops….with what they charge for residential pick up it certainly wouldn’t hurt them financially….we all pay enough to more than cover the extra pick up routes, and most extra pick ups would n’t even be out of the way of current routes.

  • Ritu June 10, 2016 (9:52 am)

    They have taken the bin away from the bus stop at Delridge way and Alaska too, any way we can get that back? People use the street as a trash can now!

  • prayforrain June 10, 2016 (1:07 pm)

    “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”  

    – Yogi Berra 

  • Mojo June 10, 2016 (4:46 pm)

    Why arent the restaurants on Alki required to have trash cans outside? A lot of the trash I see on Alki (and I catch the bus at that bus stop on 61st) is related to take out food purchased from the shops there. No one has a can other than outside Spuds. 

  • Artsea June 11, 2016 (9:48 am)

    I agree with Mojo above.  I suspect that most of the trash that is ending up in these Metro cans along Alki comes from the food places around there.  I guess I always assumed it was the city, and not Metro, that was emptying these trash cans.  It definitely sure should be the city’s responsibility to maintain and empty them.   

  • JS June 11, 2016 (10:59 am)

    They got rid of trash cans because they were used too much?  What kind of asinine excuse is that?!!  Isn’t that a GOOD thing, to keep our community clean?   It’s everyone’s responsibility (people & businesses) to keep our community clean & healthy.

  • cj June 11, 2016 (9:10 pm)

    There are some bus stops that are so vile these days that people are keeping away from them, like the one just across the street from the gas station by Lincoln Park.

  • carol June 12, 2016 (8:41 am)

    I don’t know how many readers heard this but on NPR’s  Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,, our trash can got spotlighted in one of the questions!

  • Dale June 13, 2016 (12:16 pm)

    I heard it too.   Seattle/King County policy makers are once again a national joke.

  • Arthur Allen June 13, 2016 (8:53 pm)

    Here in North Renton, Metro removed a trash can from a stop next to an auto repair shop, so shelter users would simply leave litter around the shelter.  It got so bad I wondered why the shop didn’t remove the litter themselves.  I would have done it, but I would have had to drag the litter several blocks home.  Finally Metro did something about it: from the street they water sprayed the litter to the auto repair parking lot.  Problem solved!  Soon the shop pushed back by stringing pennants around their lot about waist high, as a signal that pedestrians wandering into their lot to get in the shade are not welcome.  Then Metro replaced the trash can.  I wonder if the shop pushed for its replacement.

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