Less than two weeks after it was brought to light that the lack of sufficient trash pick-up in La Jolla Shores was causing much distress to residents and tourists, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer directed staff to look into corrective action to address the unsightly, unsanitary pileups.
Following complaints from the La Jolla Shores Association (LJSA) about overflowing trash cans, and a hefty discussion on the subject during its Aug. 8 monthly meeting, LJSA chair Janie Emerson and Faulconer’s District 1 representative Anthony George walked Avenida de la Playa (the main thoroughfare) together on Aug. 23 to inventory the situation.
As a result of their findings, Faulconer asked staff to begin a second daily trash pickup in La Jolla Shores — seven days a week — and to evaluate moving the existing trash cans to better accommodate the community’s needs. On Aug. 28 it was reported to the Light that additional cans were in place.
Faulconer told La Jolla Light: “San Diegans deserve clean public spaces. That’s why we’ve significantly increased cleanup efforts across the City, and why I’ve ordered staff to begin a second round of trash pickup each day for La Jolla Shores to address concerns that have been ignored for far too long.”
Emerson added: “It’s wonderful! I’m glad to see this happen. When citizens work together and communicate at a higher level, we get action. It took all of us working together to get this done.”
During the walk-through Aug. 23, Emerson noted there are several types of City trash cans on the street: ones with heavy lids that cannot be easily removed, ones that have lighter plastic lids, and Big Belly trash receptacles. “As with most things, there are plusses and minuses to each of these,” she said.
The heavy-lidded trash cans, for example, do not have liners or trash bags, and must be emptied manually, but cannot be tampered with by animals; the lighter plastic ones can have the lids removed by animals, which spreads the trash, but has liners that are easier to remove; and the Big Belly cans, which use solar power to compact trash and hold four times as much trash, are privately managed by area business owners.
In terms of placement, there are also opportunities for improvement. As of the walk-through, there were no City trash cans on the two blocks of Avenida de la Playa closest to the beach (from Camino del Sol and west).
On the busy 2100 block of Avenida de la Playa, there are four trash cans within 120 feet, in two pairs on the same block.
The only other City trash cans are located on the two corners of Avenida de la Playa at El Paseo Grande (one in front of Laureate Park and one near Piatti restaurant).
Otherwise, the trash receptacles are private trash cans maintained by local business owners.
As such, George said he would recommend the trash cans be spread out and more added. However, these would be subject to confirmation from the Department of Collection Services to ensure the new trash cans fit the pickup route.
This solution is seemingly a welcome one, and called “awesome” by Ocean Girl apparel shop owner Terry Kraszewski, when compared to the alternative the City previously offered.
Earlier this year, the City deemed the frequency of trash pick-up and number of cans sufficient; but on further reassessment, the City suggested that businesses add more private trash cans, and blamed take-out businesses for forcing visitors to use City trash cans, which San Diego Environmental Services Department representatives say are not designed for this type or volume of waste.
At the August LJSA meeting, District 1 City Council member Barbara Bry’s field rep Mauricio Medina noted that in 2017, the City added two more trash cans, “but that has not eliminated the issue,” he told the group. “Continuing to add more City street litter containers in front of these businesses would likely not resolve the issue.”
Given that the experimental twice-a-day trash pick-up would start in the weeks leading up to LJSA’s next meeting, the board will likely discuss the changes at its next meeting, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday Sept. 12 at Martin Johnson House on the Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus, 8840 Biological Grade. Meeting agendas and minutes are posted at lajollashoresassociation.org