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Original post made by curious, Duveneck/St. Francis, on Apr 6, 2007

Hi, we moved to Palo Alto last September. Since then we noticed that PASCO came to pick up refuses and empty recyle bins before or at 6 am EVERY week! The loud noises woke up my little babies and have been very disturbing to their daily routine. We had hoped PASCO may change routine every once a while, like the place where we used to live, so different neighborhood rotates to get the 6 am wakeup call. But it never changed. So I am really curious about how other Palo Altans think about this. Is our family the only one found it annoying? Actually we'd be just fine if they come after 7 am. Thanks for your input.


Comments (16)

Posted by dott31
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 6, 2007 at 11:44 am

Having lived here now since 1965 I can be grateful for the wonderful and cheerful sanitation workers who for every Wed. in all of these years have themselves must have had to arise at something like 4:00 A.M. to take care of our trash. Sometimes my husband and I hear them just as we hear the nearby trains. We love these sounds, part of our lives for so long and part of the feeling of security that all is in place in our predictable and cared for world. Our children, who grew up with these noises, when they come back to visit find them relaxed and happy sounds as we do. If new visitors come, we explain about the trains and, if they are to be here on a Tues. night, we explain about an early sanitation pickup. Noone has found it so traumatic that he or she chose not to visit overnight again.

Posted by PASCO is okay
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 6, 2007 at 11:56 am

I guess, Curious, that had you moved near the Caltrain tracks you would demand that Caltrain stop running trains or change their schedule to accommodate you.

Posted by natasha
a resident of Meadow Park
on Apr 6, 2007 at 12:42 pm

It's not the sanitation trucks at 6 am, which I agree are always staffed by incredibly cheerful and pleasant people. It's the midnight to one a.m street sweeping that used to go on in our old neighborhood. Haven't heard a sweeper at all since moving, possibly because I now have a window that does not oepn onto the front yard.

Posted by joyce
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 6, 2007 at 1:00 pm

Thank your lucky stars you have curbside pickup.

Posted by TheyAreDoingTheirJob
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 6, 2007 at 1:19 pm

Really? You actually hear them ;)?

They are a bunch of wonderful people - who, as someone already said, have to wake up way before 6:00am. At times when we forget to pull the trash can to the curbside - they are nice to pop open the yard door and pull out the cans ..

Posted by curious
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 6, 2007 at 2:03 pm

Don't get me wrong. I have no doubt that PASCO is a bunch of nice people. and we ARE trying to like the sounds and noises. As I said, I am just curious why PASCO comes so early (it is hard for them too, I am sure) and how other people feel about it, because I had never run into this "problem" in other four cities I had lived in, two of which are in Bay area. By the way, comparing PASCO noises and my inquiry about it to demanding a different schedule of Caltrain is quite irrational, and I am not finding it friendly nor amusing.


Posted by Richard
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 6, 2007 at 5:45 pm

There are several reasons for picking up trash/recycling so early, but the main one is to avoid traffic. The PASCO employees are running back and forth across the street, stopping their truck in the middle of the block, etc. This is faster and safer for everybody if they do it at a time when there is little traffic.

Posted by dott31
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 6, 2007 at 8:47 pm

Curious, I have to wonder whether or not you might be happier in one of those four previous communities and whether or not you are aware of the great benefits of life in Palo Alto which to many of us would outweigh early trash service if it really disturbed our rest. I have as I mentioned earlier never found family (often including young children) or friends (often elderly as are we) disturbed by these public servants doing their jobs so well.

Would I like this to be my job? No. And it's clear you wouldn't like it to be your job either. Aren't we fortunate that we haven't had to choose such a job to support our children? My wish for you is that, as your kids grow up and relate to the real world, you grow up along with them.

And I mean all of this with good will from and old timer to someone who probably is the age of my grandchildren!

Posted by Sleepless in Palo Alto
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 6, 2007 at 9:01 pm

This is crazy. The poster is disturbed by the noise of the truck. He/She is getting answers like she is a lucky one to be living in a good neighborhood etc.

No this has nothing to do with luck. Trash gets picked up in almost every neighborhood of USA, and of course she pays for this pick up service. It is not free.

The solutions range from having quieter trucks to getting the trash picked up at a different time. PASCO does not have to do this at 6:00am. It can be done at many other time slots, maybe 1-3pm, or something else.

We were annoyed by leaf blowers and their noise pollution. PASCO is a bigger noise polluter.

Posted by Mrs. Booky
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 6, 2007 at 11:16 pm

thank you for refocusing the question, Sleepless. I couldn't believe the tone of this thread. What an angry bunch of neighbors.

I am not bothered by the 6 am noise as much as I am by the PASCO employees running across streets, parking large trucks in the middle of streets or in front of driveways, and darting in and out of traffic between 7:55 - 8:10 on school mornings. Its not safe for them or for the children walking, biking or being driven to school. I would like to know if trash and recycling could be moved to avoid the early morning rush on our local streets - perhaps after 9 am? Can anyone suggest a constructive way to request a review of the timing of trash/recycling pick up?

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 7, 2007 at 7:25 am

I was raised in Sacramento where garbage collectors were city employees. When I first moved to Palo Alto, one of my big surprises was to see collectors actually running to get the job done. Then I found out they were a private contractor paid for production rather than hours.

Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 7, 2007 at 9:08 am

It's a pretty good bet PASCO won't change their schedule so why don't you meet them half way and put your "refuses" on the curb with the recycle bins to reduce the noise closer to the house?

Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2007 at 9:56 am

I am with Mrs. Booky above. I know that it is dangerous for our kids going to school. What is also dangerous is the way the cans are left. I have had to take my stroller and young kids on tricycles into the street to avoid them. This is bad enough on the day of the collection, but three days later, I still see them blocking the sidewalks. Isn't it a crime to block the sidewalks with any kind of obstacle. There are some neighbors on my street who keep their trash cans out all week on the sidewalk and I am not sure if they are ever taken in. This is not just unsightly, but dangerous. How can I let my kids go out on their own when they have to walk on the road to avoid obstacles in their way? This is not very neighborly and even though I realise that what may be a trivial matter to many, it is still very awkward for the few seconds it takes to pass.

Posted by I LOVE PASCO
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 7, 2007 at 2:12 pm

"My, my; tsk, tsk; how EVER will we manage? Archibald! Please go out and tell the PASCO men to be quiet"

Archie: "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"

Posted by Sleepless in Palo Alto
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 7, 2007 at 11:02 pm

Ask PASCO if they will re-shuffle the time slot on your street.

Posted by ashiko
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2007 at 1:11 pm

I've lived in Palo Alto all my life. The noise of the sanitation collection never really woke me until my neighborhood started using the huge recycling and leaf receptacles. It's the booming and rumbling of those huge receptacles that wakes me at night and in the morning.

I think those rolling receptacles must be much safer for the sanitation workers, as compared to lifting and carrying the smaller crates. Also, the leaf receptacle saves my gardener from having to cart the leaves away and dispose of them himself.

Of course, I would be delighted if the next generation of sanitation trucks could be quieter. It would be nice if the beeps could be toned down and more directional so they're only audible as far as they need to be (say, 30 feet to the forward and rear?). And it would be wonderful if the next generation of receptacles could rumble and echo a bit less as they roll. (I'm no engineer, but perhaps using some sort of foam layer for the container or suspension system for the wheels could dampen the sound?)

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