Officials: Place trash cans at curbs, not on sidewalks

Officials: Place trash cans at curbs, not on sidewalks

Aaron Edgell is forced to take his motorized wheelchair into the street to get around trash cans improperly placed on a sidewalk in Phoenix. (Source: CBS 5 News) Aaron Edgell is forced to take his motorized wheelchair into the street to get around trash cans improperly placed on a sidewalk in Phoenix. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Trash cans at curb: proper placement. (CBS 5 News) Trash cans at curb: proper placement. (CBS 5 News)
Trash cans on sidewalk: improper placement. (CBS 5 News) Trash cans on sidewalk: improper placement. (CBS 5 News)

Every week, most of us roll our trash cans out for garbage collection.

But, depending on where you put them, you could be breaking the law and putting lives in danger.

"This is how I get around," said Aaron Edgell about his motorized wheelchair.

The 44-year-old Phoenix man has Muscular dystrophy.

He relies on his wheelchair and unobstructed sidewalks for transportation.

But, more often than not, he's disappointed.

"You often find garbage cans in the middle of sidewalks and they're impassable at that point," Edgell explained.

Blocked sidewalks force Edgell to roll his wheelchair onto the side of a street, or risk getting stuck in dirt or rocks.

"It's scary," he said. "You take your life in your hands every time you do it."

And, it's a decision Edgell shouldn't have to make.

No matter where in the city you live, curbside collection means just that.

Trash cans belong at the curb, not on a sidewalk.

"Technically, they're breaking our city ordinance when they place containers on a place that is not allowable - which again is in the street or in the sidewalk," said Felipe Moreno, deputy public works director for the city of Phoenix. "Put the container at the edge of the curb, away from vehicular traffic."

Moreno admits both residents and trash collectors make mistakes.

Edgell's friend took video of sanitation workers returning trash cans to a sidewalk on 36th Street near Osborn.

But this is something you will see across the city.

"When a driver makes a mistake, we work to help them understand and retrain them and educate them - just like we would a resident," Moreno explained.

He encouraged people to call the Public Works' customer service line at 602-262-7251, to report improper placement of trash cans by residents or sanitation workers.

Moreno said, while the city has yet to fine a resident for this type of infraction, repeat offenders could face fines ranging from $150 to $1,000.

Edgell encourages everyone to follow garbage collection guidelines and be courteous to pedestrians and those in wheelchairs.

"That would be nice, just to have a clear sidewalk and not have to worry about whether or not I'm going to have to skirt a garbage can," he said.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved

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