New trash trucks leave some residents down in the dumps

Audrey Robbins, 86, who lives on North 21st Street in Grand Junction, says the city wants her to take her garbage can to the front of her home each week, which is difficult for Robbins because she uses a cane to walk. Her alley, above, is plenty wide enough for the new garbage trucks to pick up her trash, Robbins says. “I don’t see a reason for the city to make our area look like a slum,” she says. “I don’t want to look at the cans all day.”

The new garbage trucks that run on compressed natural gas are 22 inches longer than the deisel-powered ones, making it difficult for them to navigate some tight alleyways in Grand Junction.

For decades, Audrey Robbins had a system for getting her trash to the can in her back alley.

The 86-year-old, who walks with a cane, merely had to pull her container a few feet from her gated yard to the alley to be picked up for regular trash service by the city of Grand Junction.

But Robbins, like an estimated 160 other city dwellers, now must haul trash cans to the front of her home for weekly pickup.

“I don’t see a reason for the city to make our area look like a slum,” said Robbins, whose neighborhood in the 1300 block of North 21st Street will have to adapt to the change.

“I don’t want to look at the cans all day,” she said.

Drivers of the new garbage trucks that run on compressed natural gas recently purchased by the city are unable to navigate some tight city alleyways, according to Grand Junction Public Works spokeswoman Kristin Winn.

City crews run three diesel-powered garbage trucks and three CNG-powered trucks. But the CNG trucks are 22 inches longer than the diesel trucks. Next year, the city will receive two more CNG vehicles to replace two of the three remaining diesel-powered trucks, Winn said.

Robbins’ alley has a tight, 90-degree angle turn that makes it difficult for drivers of the new vehicles to navigate. The city has sent out letters to residents of 160 homes requesting residents place garbage cans on their front curbs.

Winn said city workers have been working on the CNG trucks to increase their turning radius. That will allow residents of 27 of the 160 homes to continue to receive trash pickup in the alley.

“We’re still kind of looking at this and modifying the trucks,” Winn said.

Winn said the city has received a few complaints from residents about having to place their garbage in front of their homes.

Residents who are disabled or unable to haul a filled can to the curb can request the garbage hauler move the can from the home to the curb and back again.

Residents needing this service can call the city at 244-1570.

CNG trucks were purchased because they are markedly more efficient than the diesel trucks, which get about three miles to the gallon, according to Winn.

CNG vehicles run more efficiently and produce almost no greenhouse gases, but the vehicles are bigger because tanks to hold the compressed gas are larger than tanks that hold gasoline or diesel.

Robbins said her trash hauler has agreed to take her can from the curb and back.

Still, she’s not pleased about the changes.

When the wind blows, trash may be strewn in the streets instead of being more hidden in the alleys. She’s also not keen on having to look at the trash cans in the front of her home and other homes.

“I understand that buying this equipment is more efficient, but I think they should have looked at what the service area is,” Robbins said.


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