While several neighborhoods have been asked to switch their trash pickup from the alley to the curb, the Peninsula Neighborhood has been one of the most vocal. Voicing multiple complaints, residents rallied together and asked the city to help them find a way to get their alley service reinstated.

After an alley drive-through in a garbage truck at the beginning of the month, Mary Nix, director of sanitation services, told the residents they would have to cut back shrubbery and, in some cases, create inlets for the trash bins. She said that once they created enough clearance on either side, their alley service would be resumed. Seems simple enough, right? Apparently not because three weeks into March, alley service has still not recommenced.

According to Chip Northrup, Peninsula Neighborhood resident and apparent leader of  the cause, the neighborhood did everything that was asked of them, but the city failed to hold up their end of the deal. “Sanitation has reneged on every promise it has made to the PN,” Northrup said via e-mail. In a separate message, he said that “Sanitation has gone out of its way not to return service to any alleys as they said they would on March 10th in writing.”

Nix said this is not the case. “We’re sticking with them and we’ll find a way to serve them either adequately or great,” she said.

Northrup said the city promised “demonstration alleys” but failed to deliver. Nix said there was a discussion about getting a few blocks in compliance and reinstating their service so they could serve as examples. However, when the alleys were inspected, she said they were fully cleared but lacking insets, which the residents said would take time to put in.

Read more after the jump.

Northrup said residents were told they could use smaller trash cans which, in most cases, wouldn’t require an inset. Nix said she doesn’t have a problem with residents using smaller trash cans, but that insets large enough for the bigger trashcans are still a necessity to cover all eventualities (such as new residents moving into the neighborhood and wanting to use the larger trash cans.)

So who’s right in this game of he said/she said? It’s hard to tell, but Nix assures me that the city is still working hard to make Peninsula Neighborhood residents happy. Unfortunately for some, she isn’t sure that means reinstating alley service.

Nix said she has heard from some residents in the neighborhood who don’t want their alley service resumed. If it had only been only one resident, she said she would’ve moved forward with alley service, but there have been several that she must take into consideration.

Last week, ballots were distributed in the neighborhood to gauge the majority sentiment, though Nix said she feared that residents who are opposed to resuming alley service may be under “neighbor pressure to shut up.”

There is a meeting set for Wednesday night to discuss the matter, so either way it looks like something should be done soon.
Editor’s note: Freelancer Elizabeth Elliott’s story "Alley oops?" will appear in the April Lakewood/East Dallas Advocate. This blog series expands on the piece.