ST. LOUIS – A new issue in the St. Louis trash crisis is that alleys are so overgrown with brush that it’s hard for residents and garbage trucks to even get to the trash dumpsters anymore.
FOX 2 obtained a video showing one driver pushing through a jungle of brush in a narrow alley to empty multiple dumpsters in brush so thick you couldn’t even see the garbage being dumped into the truck.
The alley was behind the 4400 block of Anderson near O’Fallon Park in St. Louis’s new 11th Ward.
“Yeah, there are spots where trucks cannot safely pass through,” said Alderwoman Laura Keys.
She urged people to report such things to her or the Citizens Service Bureau. Otherwise, they won’t be addressed. She said she is adamant about it, sharing her cell phone number with residents in her ward.
“I want to know what’s happening and to be as proactive as possible to get the work done,” Keys said. “To make city services aware that this is an area we need help in immediately. No one person can do it all, but everybody can do something.”
Surrounding alleys are nearly bad, but a city spokesman said no one has “called them in.” Keys said no one had called her about them.
“We have to have residents call that in,” she said.
Most of the overgrowth is from neglected properties. In extreme cases like this, the city’s forestry staff can clear a path for the trucks and bill the property owners.
“I have to give credit to our forestry and refuse, and other city services,” Keys said. “They really do want to see these things happen and happen successfully, but they’re overwhelmed. They don’t have enough staffing to cover everything.”
According to a city spokesperson, the staffing shortage is slowly improving with new pay raises and better benefits for city workers.
Reporting issues do bring at least partial results. Ann Wright reported overfilled dumpsters in the alley behind her nearby property. Though a trashy mess remains on the ground near the dumpsters, they were emptied the next day.
“Yes, I really appreciate it,” Wright said.
“I always say, ‘Give a damn, put the trash in the can,’” Keys said. “See it through the eyes of people who come for other places and say, ‘Oh man, this really does look bad’. Take that personal responsibility to pick up our trash, pick up our neighborhoods, and pick up our community. That’s what it’s going to take.”
City residents should report issues to St. Louis’s Citizens Service Bureau by calling 314-622-4800, online, or via Twitter @stlcsb.