WBEZ | Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-department-streets-and-sanitation Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en With new garbage grid, Mayor Emanuel trashes symbol of Machine power http://www.wbez.org/news/new-garbage-grid-mayor-emanuel-trashes-symbol-machine-power-106712 <p><p><strong>Old grid &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;New Grid</strong></p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="800" scrolling="no" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/INTERACTIVE+DATA+PUBLISHING/2013+Projects/April/GarbageRoutes/Garbage.html" width="960"></iframe></p><div class="credit">Dual maps code via <a href="http://www.twitter.com/GISDoctor">@GISDoctor</a></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F88447662" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel killed the last of the Democratic Machine last week.</p><p>Well, not quite.</p><p>The finalization of Chicago&rsquo;s new Grid Garbage Transition marked a dramatic change to the city&rsquo;s refuse collection grid. Its workings were left largely unchanged in the past 100 years. &nbsp;</p><p>That system has strong and storied ties to Chicago&rsquo;s Democratic Machine, which used city services as political levers to curry favor with voters &mdash; and as a vehicle to dole out patronage jobs.</p><p>&ldquo;Adopting the grid garbage collection system allows us to replace an outdated method that started when garbage was still collected by horse and buggy and divert personnel resources to support the citywide expansion of recycling,&rdquo; Emanuel said in a statement last week.</p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s garbage collection was based on the boundaries of the city&rsquo;s 50 wards, the recent re-map of which was the subject of controversy and a <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20130402/chicago/new-ward-remap-unfair-says-federal-lawsuit">federal lawsuit</a>.</p><p>While ward boundaries zig-zag across much of the city&rsquo;s geography, the daily garbage routes put even the most gerrymandered territories to shame, resulting in a kaleidoscope of pickups, rarely viewed by the public.</p><p>It&rsquo;s those convoluted routes that Emanuel says costs the taxpayers $18 million in labor and fuel.</p><p>According to the mayor&rsquo;s office, by moving to a grid garbage collection system, &ldquo;the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation will reduce its average daily refuse collection truck deployment from nearly 360 trucks to less than 320 trucks each day, while using fewer crews and fuel.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>Garbage collectors and garbage truck drivers have largely been union workers, but the status quo of sanitation services has evolved throughout the years, especially in Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;In the old days, when I was alderman, we still had 50-gallon drums,&rdquo; said Dick Simpson, a former alderman and current University of Illinois-Chicago professor.</p><p>Simpson served as alderman for the 44th ward from 1971-1979. He said the office would get complaints if garbage wasn&rsquo;t picked up or if there were special pickup needs such as mattresses.</p><p>And he said good garbage collection was good politics.</p><p>&ldquo;Mostly it was used to make the voters happy and to get the voters to vote for you,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/eman.jpg" style="float: right;" title="(File/AP)" /></div><p>Simpson said addressing other city services such as tree-trimming, fixing curbs and street repair often went a long way with voters too.</p><p>When Chicago&rsquo;s Democratic Machine was at its zenith, party bosses, committeemen and precinct captains utilized the ward-controlled distribution of city services to give priority to those loyal to the party. And since many services were under the control of an alderman, it cleared the way for patronage jobs.</p><p>Simpson said the patronage system still hasn&rsquo;t died out, but it&rsquo;s been cut back.</p><p>&ldquo;Under the <a href="http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1138.html">Shakman cases</a>, there were 20,000 patronage workers,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/07/us/07chicago.html">Under the Sorich trial</a>, the clout list of people seeking patronage appointments under Richard M. Daley were 5,000,&rdquo; Simpson said, referring to the conviction of Robert A. Sorich, a former patronage chief of Daley&rsquo;s. &nbsp;</p><p>That trial was sparked by an infamous Sun-Times investigation into Chicago&rsquo;s hired truck program. It was found to have mob ties and employ deadbeat contract workers.</p><p>&ldquo;Is everyone on a garbage truck a patronage worker? &nbsp;Not necessarily, but quite a few were and quite a few are,&rdquo; Simpson said.</p><p>Simpson said that at one time, there was one driver and three loaders for each garbage truck. One was supposed to be sweep the alleys. With supervisors involved, there could be as many as five people for each garbage truck.</p><p>But as truck designs and garbage cans changed, so did the need for manpower.</p><p>The transition to the standard rubberized plastic bins began in the early &lsquo;80s. Modern garbage trucks can clasp onto the 96-gallon bins for automatic loading. It allowed for one laborer to be dropped from each truck crew.</p><p>Before the plastic bins, larger crews were needed because of the hodge podge of receptacles used by residents was inconsistent &mdash; and messy. And before that, well, as Emanuel said: it was collected by horse and buggy. And that was only for residents in nice neighborhoods. Many Chicagoans did not even have the luxury of garbage cans and&nbsp;relied on dumps scattered across the city.</p><p>The creation of Chicago&rsquo;s garbage grid did not fully take shape until the turn of the 20th century. &nbsp;Around that time, cities across the U.S. were dealing with increasing household and industrial waste, sometimes including coal ash and dead animals.</p><p>A report made to City Council in 1905 by the commissioner of public works sought to address serious issues with garbage at the time.</p><p>The commissioner was none other than Joseph M. Patterson, a storied Chicagoan, who went on to found the New York Daily News. He was also grandson to Chicago Tribune founder Joseph Medill.</p><p>Patterson was blunt in his report:&nbsp;</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;Those who have interested themselves in the problem of garbage disposal in Chicago are agreed on this proposition: The dumps must go. &nbsp;Dumps poison the air for miles around; and if ground made by dumping is dug up years afterwards it is found still putrid. &nbsp;Dumping is a barbarous anachronism for a twentieth century city.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/captainmycaptain.jpg" style="float: left;" title="A survey, published in the 1937 study by Harold Gosnell titled Machine Politics: Chicago Model: outlined services rendered by captains from 1928-1936." />The dumps were littered all over the city, many amid residential areas.</p><p>Patterson documented how New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh dealt with municipal trash. &nbsp;He recommended the council adopt the method of &ldquo;reduction,&rdquo; which involved pressing liquid out of solid trash to make it better suited for burning or dumping.</p><p>While a <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203476804576612851452362670.html">2011 Wall Street Journal article</a> points out that Chicago currently uses three workers per garbage truck, the 1905 report called for a garbage teams of up to five workers per wagon. Each used about four horses. &nbsp;The report, with entries by the Assistant Superintendent of Streets, indicated that a typical team averaged two loads per day, with a ward employing between 8 and 19 garbage teams.</p><p>By 1914, a similar report indicated that burning trash was more commonplace and newer methods of transportation such as street cars were used to transport ashes. By this time, waste management began adopting barges and transfer stations to move garbage to a centralized location away from densely populated areas.</p><p>But even as new technology and transportation options took root, management was still handled by ward offices.</p><p>As the city&#39;s population grew in the early half of the 20th century, so too did its political apparatus, with European ethnic groups settling into defined enclaves.</p><p>Ethnic identity was a major part of Machine politics, which sometimes capitalized on poor English skills of immigrants to function as a middleman between communities and the government. Those service jobs were often taken care of by precinct captains.</p><p>In Chicago, each ward elects a party committeeman, who would recruit precinct captains charged with getting out the vote.</p><p>A survey, published in the 1937 study by Harold Gosnell titled <em>Machine Politics: Chicago Model</em> outlined services rendered by captains from 1928-1936. &nbsp;Among the services rendered were brokerage for streets and alleys, as well as providing legal aid, help with weddings, providing coal and handing out Christmas baskets.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/trashburners.jpg" style="float: right;" title="Concrete structures like these were common for many Chicago homes. While their use among residents was mixed from storing garbage, to using liners to burning garbage and leaves, they fell largely out of use as steel drums became more common. (Photo courtesy of David Aguayo)" />By this time, concrete structures began to pop up in the alleys of Chicago. The structures are still visible on many Chicago homes, with most forgetting their original purpose.</p><p>These were generally used as trash receptacles, and up until the &lsquo;70s were in use by many residents to burn garbage and leaves.</p><p>As the concrete receptacles fell out of use, residents switched to steel garbage cans.&nbsp;</p><p>Tim Samuelson is a cultural historian for Chicago&rsquo;s Department of Cultural Affairs.</p><p>&ldquo;Years ago in many neighborhoods, you requested a new garbage can from the alderman or the neighborhood Streets and Sanitation office. &nbsp;It was typically a recycled oil drum - sometimes repainted and stenciled with the politician&#39;s name on it,&rdquo; he said. &nbsp;</p><p>Then a shift to the plastic carts began in the 1980s, under the watch of Mayor Harold Washington. He began to more aggressively roll out and replace the city&rsquo;s steel cans in 1985, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/new-garbage-grid-mayor-emanuel-trashes-symbol-machine-power-106712#doc3">according to a report by the city&rsquo;s Department of Planning issued that year</a>.</p><p>&ldquo;When there was the change to uniform plastic carts, many local politicians were unhappy that this ages-old tradition of providing a garbage can to constituents was over,&rdquo; Samuelson said.</p><p>That however, still did not stop some politicians from playing favorites, with some homeowners managing to secure multiple bins for for their homes throughout the &lsquo;80s and &lsquo;90s.</p><p>Now, all that seems to have changed, with even aldermen acknowledging that it makes more sense for garbage to be handled by the city.</p><p>&ldquo;As a former Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation ward superintendent, I have first-hand knowledge of the city&rsquo;s refuse operations and of some of the unique challenges each community can present,&rdquo; said Ald. Michelle Harris (8th). &nbsp;&ldquo;I&rsquo;m pleased the department has developed a thoughtful system that meet the needs of residents while making smarter use of our resources.&rdquo;</p><p>The sentiment was echoed by fellow Alderman Anthony Beale of the 9th ward.</p><p>&ldquo;The ward-based refuse collection system is outdated and inefficient,&rdquo; Beale said. &nbsp;&ldquo;By transitioning to the grid system we can eliminate waste and redirect those valuable resources to support other service areas.&rdquo;</p><p>While it remains to be seen how much the city will save off the new grid, much of the city&rsquo;s attention has been focused on <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/09/chicago-recycling-fail-1_n_641087.html">Chicago&rsquo;s long-delayed recycling program</a>, which floundered under Daley&rsquo;s administration with <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2008-05-03/news/0805020335_1_blue-bag-program-blue-bags-cart">the now defunct blue-bag system</a>.</p><p>But one thing&#39;s for sure: ward-based garbage in Chicago has been trashed.</p><p><em>Elliott Ramos is a data reporter and web producer for WBEZ. Follow him at <a href="http://www.twitter.com/chicagoel">@ChicagoEl</a></em></p><p><strong>Documents</strong></p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/136641937/1905-Report-to-the-City-Council-on-Garbage-Collection-and-Disposal" name="doc1" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View 1905 Report to the City Council on Garbage Collection and Disposal on Scribd">1905 Report to the City Council on Garbage Collection and Disposal</a> by <a href="http://www.scribd.com/WBEZ915" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Chicago Public Media's profile on Scribd">Chicago Public Media</a></p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.749792186201164" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_28472" scrolling="no" src="http://www.scribd.com/embeds/136641937/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-broup3eatkf57kw9xq7" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/136642538/1914-Report-of-the-City-Waste-Commission-of-the-City-of-Chicago" name="doc2" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View 1914 Report of the City Waste Commission of the City of Chicago on Scribd">1914 Report of the City Waste Commission of the City of Chicago</a> by <a href="http://www.scribd.com/WBEZ915" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Chicago Public Media's profile on Scribd">Chicago Public Media</a></p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.749792186201164" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_67468" scrolling="no" src="http://www.scribd.com/embeds/136642538/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-dto1icjisy0ouw6l088" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/136703980/1985-Report-from-Chicago-s-Department-of-Planning" name="doc3" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View 1985 Report from Chicago's Department of Planning on Scribd">1985 Report from Chicago&#39;s Department of Planning</a></p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="undefined" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_18989" scrolling="no" src="http://www.scribd.com/embeds/136703980/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 18 Apr 2013 06:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/new-garbage-grid-mayor-emanuel-trashes-symbol-machine-power-106712 Chicago begins new push for blue cart recycling http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-begins-new-push-blue-cart-recycling-105645 <p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel&#39;s office announced Wednesday that more than 131,000 Chicago households will get blue cart recycling services in March and April.</p><p>&quot;The blue cart recycling program will provide bi-weekly recycling collection services to residents who live in single family homes, two-, three- and four-flat buildings,&quot; a statement said.</p><p>The expansion will include 340,000 households and is scheduled to be complete by the fall of 2013. Currently, city officials say 260,000 households receive blue cart recycling service.</p><p>(Map: The Mayor&#39;s Office confirmed that areas not pegged for new rollouts will be under future consideration and planning.)</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/BlueCartKey.jpg" title="" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="750" scrolling="no" src="https://www.google.com/fusiontables/embedviz?viz=MAP&amp;q=select+col2+from+19GapdtYoZ32gyu-Hn5cPj5gIwhX7AshICJ2dgfQ&amp;h=false&amp;lat=41.84008383218665&amp;lng=-87.70479297363282&amp;z=11&amp;t=1&amp;l=col2&amp;y=2&amp;tmplt=2" width="620"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><div>The city said to ensure a smooth transition during the expansion, each of the six city service areas will undergo a gradual expansion of households receiving new recycling services. &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The city said subsequent phases will be announced as collection schedules and routes are finalized.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;The Department of Streets and Sanitation and its partners are expanding our service areas in phases to ensure a seamless transition with effective operations and to make certain that current recycling services are not impacted,&rdquo; said Charles Williams, commissioner of the Department of Streets and Sanitation.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;We will continue to use the same rollout method throughout the year as we expand recycling throughout the city.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 20 Feb 2013 17:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-begins-new-push-blue-cart-recycling-105645 Trash problems in Chicago: Who you gonna call? http://www.wbez.org/story/trash-problems-chicago-who-you-gonna-call-93870 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-08/RS4094_Dear Chicago Green the fleet3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago aldermen have long controlled a key city service: garbage pick-up. But not for long, says Mayor Rahm Emanuel. As part of our coverage this week of Emanuel's budget, we look at the politics of trash.</p><p>Right now, Chicago's garbage trucks are assigned to one of its 50 wards.</p><p>"No person designing a garbage collection system from scratch would base it on a political map," Emanuel told aldermen during his budget address in mid-October.</p><p>Emanuel wants to move to a grid system. Trucks would have straightforward routes instead of zig-zagging within squiggly ward boundaries. The administration said that'd save $20 million in the first year. Some aldermen have embraced the change, but not all.</p><p>"It's not about politics," said Ald. Roberto Maldonado of the West Side's 26th Ward, during an interview at his Humboldt Park office. "It is about efficiency, and making sure that my constituents will be reassured that they won't have any problems."</p><p>Maldonado said that, historically, "constituents hold accountable the alderman for the garbage collection."</p><p>So if he no longer controls trash pick-up, Maldonado wants residents to call "the mayor's office number" with trash complaints. But that already kind-of happens. It's 311, Chicago's non-emergency hotline. And from a quick survey in Maldonado's ward, people already do that.</p><p>"For things like that, you don't really need to call the aldermen," Robert Williams said. "You call 311."</p><p>"I just dial 311 since it's non-emergency and ask them to come pick up the garbage," said Ivan Rivera.</p><p>Shikita Carr said she calls the police to report garbage problems, and she claimed they respond. (Though maybe that's not the best advice.)</p><p>Still, those responses indicate residents already expect centralized services. Recycling - in areas where there is recycling - is picked up on a grid. And last year the city started "field testing" grid garbage pickup, though a Streets and Sanitation Department spokesman says there's no "hard data available" from the tests.</p><p>At a recent hearing, a handful of aldermen grumbled about Emanuel's plan and how few details have been released. The city is paying a consultant to chart out the grids using GIS mapping software. But those results aren't expected to be ready until after aldermen vote on the budget.</p></p> Wed, 09 Nov 2011 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/trash-problems-chicago-who-you-gonna-call-93870