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CB11 hopes for clean sweep

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Fall might be beautiful, but it’s making it tough for neighborhood residents to make a clean sweep.

At last week’s Community Board 11 meeting, Chair Bill Guarinello complained that the tree-lined streets in his district are covered will fallen leaves and that the Department of Sanitation hasn’t been nearly as effective sweeping them up as they have been in neighboring Community Board 10.

“It’s really strange how their streets are immaculate,” Guarinello said. “They have more trees than we do.”

A representative from the mayor’s Community Assistance Unit attending the meeting advised residents to sweep up leaves 18 inches from the curb to avoid problems for city street sweepers.

“Our street sweepers really weren’t designed to vacuum up the amount of leaves that we have,” Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann later told this newspaper.

That’s why Beckmann says residents living within the community’s of Dyker Heights, Bay Ridge and Fort Hamilton are urged to rake the gutters in front of their homes.

“It’s a collaborative effort,” the district manager said. “As soon as the season begins we get calls [complaining about leaves]. Sometimes sweepers can’t complete their routes [because they quickly become filled with leaves]. We encourage people to pitch in.”

The Department of Sanitation [DOS] says that large quantities of fallen leaves don’t actually pose mechanical problems for their street sweepers, and attributed messy streets inside Community Board 11 to the suspension of alternate side of the street parking.

“There has been two holiday weeks in a row in which alternate side of the street parking was suspended and the Department was off for the holiday,” DOS spokesperson Kathy Dawkins said.

Community Board 11 has called for a meeting of its Sanitation Committee to discuss the tidiness of Bath Beach and Bensonhurst blocks.

“I hate being compared to another board,” Guarinello said.

Beckmann says that for 11 months out of the year, the city’s existing fleet of motorized street sweepers work just fine. However, that hasn’t stopped residents from asking about better equipment.

“It’s always suggested,” the district manager said. “Residents don’t understand why we don’t have vacuum trucks.”

Parks Department plans to plant 20,000 new street trees each year could make upgrading an imperative.

“As we plant more trees we’re going to have more leaves,” Beckmann said.

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