Have you ever tried to walk through your neighborhood on trash collection day? We park our cars at the curb, in the street. And yet we seem to think that the sidewalk in front of our house (if we’re fortunate enough to have a sidewalk) was poured there just so that our dumpster can have its own personal parking space.
I’ve talked to Republic Services about this a few years ago and they assured me that in Boise it’s against city code to park a trash can on the sidewalk and that, in fact, it is more convenient for their collection staff if the can is parked in the street and not up on the sidewalk. They said that if they ever saw that happen in Nampa they’d give the person a note about it. Apparently this directive has been lost on someone’s desk, because I doubt anyone in Nampa has ever been given a note about parking their can on the sidewalk.
Here’s the list of instructions from their website:
Republic Services Collection Requirements
- All containers must be removed from the curbside within 24 hours…
- Do not set trash containers close to obstructions such as mailboxes, fire hydrants, parked cars, or utility poles.
- Do not block sidewalks with carts or cans.
Why am I so steamed about this? Well, there are lots of reasons:
1) I walk to work – and the walk is not only unpleasant but sometimes it’s impossible because the sidewalk has been completely barricaded with waste cans.
2) When there’s no sidewalk it means myself and a long list of other vulnerable users (children, elderly, disabled, and maybe even you) are out on the street with 4,000 lbs. of steel and plastic moving past them at anywhere from 20-40 miles per hour.
3) Sidewalks are a critically important part of a community’s transportation network and studies have been done to even show a link between the amount of physical activity and the presence of sidewalks and pathways.
4) Sidewalks have become so important that Real estate websites now offer a “Walk Score”. You’ll see the details on walkscore.com but basically a Walk Score ranks your community based upon how easy it is to get around by car, bike, and foot. A perfect score would be a 100. Nampa ranks about 28 and my neighborhood is at 25. Any time a community gets a score of 49 or less it is considered a “car dependent” neighborhood.
“I don’t have time to walk anywhere, why should I care?” Would it help to know that the city of Nampa requires that you care? They expect the public to partner with them in the care and maintenance of sidewalks. It’s the law. Another reason to care is that – it’s not always about YOU. When you go out and spend a few minutes sweeping the snow or gravel off or when you take 30 extra seconds to roll your trash can down your driveway and park it in the street instead of up on the sidewalk you’re making it possible for kids to walk to school and that elderly neighbor of yours to use the sidewalk for its intended purpose. It’s a tiny little thing we can do that can make a huge difference in someone’s day. It’s called being a good neighbor.
Here are a few of the Nampa city code sections which relate to sidewalks. I didn’t include those for downtown, because those have other issues I won’t go into here.
9-1-8: CURBS, GUTTERS AND SIDEWALKS:
It is the duty of every property owner to maintain and repair the curb, gutter and sidewalk located on/in public right of way adjacent to his/her property…The accumulation of snow, ice, dirt or any solid waste upon sidewalks of the city or placement of items (e.g., dumpsters, portable backstops, landscaping features, etc.) upon such so as to obstruct the same is declared to be a nuisance and the responsibility of the owner to move or remove in a timely manner. (Ord. 3371, 8-2-2004)
Vehicles parked on driveways shall be parked such that no portion of a vehicle is overhanging (and thereby blocking) any portion of a public sidewalk or walkway. (Ord. 3371, 8-2-2004)
7-2-16: STOPPING, STANDING OR PARKING PROHIBITED IN SPECIFIED PLACES:
A. Exceptions: No person shall stop, stand or park a vehicle, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with law or the directions of a police officer or traffic control device, in any of the following places: 1. On or across sidewalks, or in such a manner as to obstruct the route of passage between such sidewalks.
Let’s all agree to take care of our sacred “just for people” (and dogs) spaces. They are one of the few things that our street departments build so that we can move from one place to another using nothing but our own two feet.
Let’s care enough to curb our cans. It won’t cost us a dime.
It will show we take pride in our neighborhoods.
And seriously – aren’t people more important than our trash cans? Really?
Where: Rolling H Cycles, 115 13th Ave. South, Nampa
- Boys & Girls Club Grande Fondo, May 2 – Dan Smith
- Nampa Youth Bicycle Project – Ross Garvin, Canyon County Juvenile Probation – Proposal to create a repair organization using the Boise Bicycle Project model.
- Deanna Smith – Idaho Smart Growth, Neighborhood to Market Rides, distribution of promotional materials
- Project Updates, COMPASS – Permanent bike/ped counter installation locations, Discussion of details for Nampa Bike Walk Week in May.
March 14, Saturday, 9:30 am. 12:30 pm Nampa Library Grand Opening