19 Aug 2014
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Dumping on Marmion Way: Who's Responsible?

"The magnitude of dumping and accumulated trash along Marmion Way north of Museum Drive to Monte Vista is appalling," according to ASNC member Ann Walnum.

Dumping on Marmion Way: Who's Responsible? Dumping on Marmion Way: Who's Responsible? Dumping on Marmion Way: Who's Responsible?

"The magnitude of dumping and accumulated trash along Marmion Way north of Museum Drive to Monte Vista is appalling."

An item on the Arroyo Seco Neighborhrood Council Agenda, penned by member, Ann Walnum, begins with that sentence.

Dumping along Marmion Way has been a problem for years, Walnum explained, and appears to be caused many culprits.

During a recent cleanup event in Cypress Park, Walnum said she asked to be assigned to "the worst area possible." She ended walking along the long stretch of Mount Washington Road, where she discovered couches, piles of discarded trash, human waste and a bag containing a decomposing house pet.

Appalling indeed.

During Monday evening's ASNC meeting, Walnum distributed a sign-up sheet for a cleanup event scheduled to be held sometime in the next month. Walnum is notoriously anti-Internet, so signing up online is not a possibility. However, I've volunteered my services, and will get the word out via Patch as soon as I know the time and date.

Walnum said a previous cleanup even was held about 10-years-ago, in cooperation with then-newly elected CD 1 Councilman Ed Reyes.

However, like most cleanups, the rewards of participating were limited to the satisfaction of a good deed done and the sight of a temporarily clean stretch of roadside.

As ASNC board member Jerry Schneider put it: "That, of course, is temporal."

What, then, are some potential long-term solutions to dumping and littering along Marmion Way?

The board suggested a few on Monday evening.

Establish a "Clean Team"

Hermon already has one. The Hermon Clean Team meets on a regular basis to pick up litter, paint over graffiti and to do some light landscaping work. The Hermon Clean Team even got together in January to help that had been the source of several board of health complaints.

Could a Clean Team be the answer to littering problems on Marmion Way?

Improved City Services

Marmion Way is split between two city council districts, with Councilman José Huizar representing the north "mountain side" of the road, and Councilman Ed Reyes representing south "railroad tracks" side of road.

Walnum said she spoek to Kai Newkirk, Huizar's Mount Washington field representative, who helped to get some of the larger items removed from the side of the road. 

"I talked to a rep three times and I think he's succeeded in picking up some of the bulky items and the larger trash bags," Walnum said. "So it's a little better this week than it was last week."

Raphael Guerin, of the ASNC, said locals needed to get a committment from the the department of sanitation to remove large items on a weekly basis.

"It's imperative to get a commitment from sanitation to go by there at least once a week," Guerin said. "Because it is just constant, it's not going away.

ASNC member Roy Payan said improved code enforcement was also needed, especially on the railroad track side of the road where much of the land is owned by a single property owner.

"I appreciate the cleanups, I think they're good," Payan said. "But, someone's gotta get on the property owner. There's code enforcement that's got to be followed."

Install a Fence

Guerin said that, given the city's ever-shrinking budget, the liklihood of improved city services was small. However, he said it may be possible to encourage the city to invest in installing a chainlink fence along the roadway, which is a falling rock area. 

The fence would not deter people from throwing trash out their windows, but it would make it far more difficult for people to leave large items along the roadside.

"I don't know how it's going to look aesthetically, but you could put a chain link fence all the way across. Because when it rains, that is a falling rock area," Guerin said. "That is one way to get budgeted to turn around and do that. That would eliminate people dumping couches and other large items. How that would look aesthetically is another story. But, the budgeting to get that done should be not such a dramatic test, because of the fact that things fall in inclement weather."

What do you think? What is the best way to handle littering along Marmion Way? Take our Facebook poll and tell us in the comments.

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