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City Looking at Automated Garbage Trucks

By Prescott Carlson in News on Apr 15, 2009 10:30PM

Photo by jc5083
The city of Chicago has put out a RFQ (request for quotations) on 200 new garbage trucks, which may spell the end for the current three man truck crews. That's because the new trucks are side-loading, and have a mechanical "automated" arm that lifts and empties bins into the truck -- which means in theory the trucks only require one person to operate them, a driver. This method of refuse pickup is popular in the suburbs, but so is paying for garbage service, as well has having to buy stickers and pay fees for extra items that won't fit in the garbage bins. The city has not indicated if large items like your roommate's disgusting couch he left behind would still be picked up if a move was made to the automated trucks. Of course, with the possibility of a massive layoff if the new trucks are adopted, the labor union isn't happy:
"It's gonna be a terrible cut in service. I'd like to see them go down an alley in Pilsen, where there's garbage all over the ground. Who's gonna clean that up?" said Lou Phillips, business manager of Laborers Union Local 1001, whose members stand to lose their jobs.

Phillips also told the Sun-Times that a test of the new trucks last October was "disastrous" and that Mayor Daley said at the time that a full citywide switch was a bad idea and "would not be pursued." Looks like he changed his mind. A Streets and Sanitation spokesman said the city is only issuing an RFQ as a fact-finding mission, to just "merely expand the city's options."

What we don't get is how a side-loading truck would be practical in Chicago's alleys -- would the truck have to go down the alley, turn around, then go down it the other way? If so, that certainly seems like a less-than-optimal solution. [S-T]