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Hamilton Heights rat mitigation zone rolls out residential trash bins for blocks

NYC rolls out rat-proof trash containers for Hamilton Heights residents
NYC rolls out rat-proof trash containers for Hamilton Heights residents 01:58

NEW YORK - New rat-proof trash containers are being put to the test outside schools in Hamilton Heights. The city is also now rolling out the first residential bins on blocks within the pilot program zone.

Ten blocks are transforming before neighbors' eyes. New Community Board 9 chair Victor Edwards took a tour of West 152nd Street the day after the new bins were installed, sharing skepticism about how older neighbors or those with disabilities will be able to access them.

"Maybe they should have a button where they can push it and lift it, something, you know," suggested Tony Fernandez, who sat atop the dumpster he just finished filling.

The community board unsuccessfully requested a reset of the anti-rat pilot program to allow brownstone owners and superintendents to select their own solutions, like using smaller bins on sidewalks outside buildings on some blocks.

Neighbors in the target area will find the bins placed throughout the block, in addition to the larger arrays outside schools. All together they take up about ten parking spaces on West 152nd, further frustrating a few.

"If they work late, they said they sit in cars for hours trying to find space," Edwards said. "Garages are full in this area, and they're very expensive."

The school bins, however, seem to be working, with sanitation crews making daily pickups. Esther Yoon has watched the trash piles shrink on West 147th Street.

"Parents who drop their kids off at school every day are quite happy because when we used to drop our kids off in the morning, there would be heaps of trash," Yoon said.

But outside her home across the street, rats continue to build new burrows and break through mesh and other mitigation efforts teams made.

"If they don't treat it and they don't remove the rats, then there's no point," Yoon said.

Yoon hopes her block gets more attention than bins as the pilot program proceeds.

"It doesn't seem like they're hearing us," Edwards commented. "I just want to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem. And I don't want to be an onlooker."

So far, city officials report receiving 40% fewer 311 calls for rat sightings since mitigation efforts started earlier this summer.

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