Mayor promised better trash cans 3 years ago

Three years after Mayor Thomas Menino promised 25 “BigBelly” trash cans for the Centre/South streets corridor, Jamaica Plain is still waiting for the upgrades.

Menino promised the 25 solar-powered trash compactor cans in January 2009 as part of the City’s massive effort to redesign the entire two-mile stretch of Centre and South streets. The locations of the BigBelly cans would be determined as part of the redesign process.

Since then, bike lanes—design elements suggested during the same process—have been added to Centre and South streets, but JP still only has six BigBelly cans.

“We are actively exploring opportunities to install additional BigBelly units in Jamaica Plain as part of the redesign of Centre/South, which will enter final design process this summer,” City spokesperson Emilee Ellison told the Gazette in an email.

The redesign plan included recommendations for the corridor as well as the redesign of three major intersections. The recommendations included using BigBellies in the corridor as resources allowed, in the same way that it recommended bike lanes. That means they could have been installed at any time.

New York-based advertising company Vector Media is paying for the cans in exchange for the right to advertise on them. Each BigBelly can costs $4,000 and Boston currently has 257 of them. According to Ellison, Boston will have 400 BigBellies by June, but she did not say whether any of the 143 new cans would end up in JP.

“We work closely with Vector Media to determine locations for BigBelly placement,” Ellison said.

The Gazette surveyed trash cans in the Centre/South corridor in March. Of the 51 public trash cans in the two-mile stretch, only six were solar-powered, compacting, lidded BigBelly cans. They were all located in the Hyde/Jackson squares area. The rest were uncovered, smaller capacity cans that allow access to vermin and pests and lose trash to strong winds. Most of those are placed on Centre Street north of the Monument, whereas only 13 were located on South Street. The Gazette did not see any City recycling facilities anywhere on the corridor.

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