Montrose, Let's Talk Trash

Montrose and Sparr Heights locals started this conversation on Facebook. Let's move it to Patch and find out what the Montrose Shopping Park Association, Glendale officials and businesses are doing to fight the alleged filth.

Sensitive noses and observant eyes in town contacted Patch about trash pile ups in Montrose.

Garbage drove Glendale Department of Public Works to increase pick ups, place larger liners in trash containers and install solar trash compactors. Volunteers started picking up trash along Honolulu Avenue each Friday.  

"One of the goals of our Friday morning clean up is showing how a few volunteers can make a difference keeping Montrose clean. It’s already had a positive affect despite the frequent events," Steve Pierce, Montrose Shopping Park Association Ambassador, told Patch.  

Local Glori Steele mentioned her recent concerns via Sparr Heights Neighbors public Facebook page. This sparked a public discourse that's perfect for a community news forum like Patch. Here's what Steele wrote: 

  1. All of the trash bins in the parking lot behind Pepe's, Cucina Rustica, Wine & Kabob, Sake, etc. are constantly overflowing and trash is thrown on the ground around the bins. The bins stink and make parking back there very unpleasant. Should there be more bins with perhaps an enclosure?
  2. I walk through Montrose on my daily walks and the amount of feces on the sidewalk is becoming alarming. Who walks their pet without picking up its mess? Should free doggie bags be available?
  3. What exactly is the smoking policy in Montrose? Are people allowed to smoke while walking on the sidewalks and while sitting outside at coffee shops and restaurants? 
  4. Why, oh why, would the owner of the property that houses Fat Dog let the new tenant create a storefront that completely defies the architectural integrity of the building?

MSPA is working with Glendale officials to lessen trash in the area, and plans to ask business owners to voluntarily maintain their area, Pierce said. 

"If a few start doing this others will follow. As long as it stays as a volunteer effort we will have positive response," he said. 

Pierce invites locals to join him in Montrose with regular volunteers Alyce Russell of Andersen's Pet Shop, Linda McMenamin, Ken Grayson of Grayson's Tune Town, Robert "Bobcat" Thompson each Friday morning, between 6:30 and 7 a.m.

The group started in January 2012, he said. 

"I pick up trash along three blocks of Honolulu. Robert actually picks up starting at La Crescenta Avenue. Others are welcome. We will provide the 'trash-grabber' and get them started. We will continue this effort every Friday morning. There’s always plenty to do," Pierce said. 

People are getting used to the solar trash receptacles, he said. The sidewalk and sitting areas were power washed and the main concern are the parking lot garbage bins, he added.  

"The upper and lower parking lots are the biggest problem as well as the private parking lot south of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf," Pierce said. 

The five person crew does the best it can, but it's often overwhelming, he said. 

"The City has been alerted and they are currently talking to those businesses which seem to be responsible for the trash situation. We could use some help from merchants and the City to handle the trash in the parking lots," Pierce said.

The parking lot behind El Charro Restaurant has seen turnaround over the past several months, he said.   

"Overall, for a community which has as many events and activities as Montrose, we’re doing a pretty good job keeping trash picked up. It’s very gratifying when I see people picking up trash while walking along the sidewalk. That’s what inspires others to do the same thing," Pierce said. 

Alek Bartrosouf helped found the Coalition for a Green Glendale back in 2007. He suggests people start using reusable mugs or cups to decrease trash. 

"This would reduce waste significantly and create more room in trash bins for other items, thereby cleaning the neighborhood and reducing waste that goes to our local landfill - an important facility for Glendale," Bartrosouf told Patch via email. 

Patch AsksWhat do you think about trash in Montrose? Do you notice it? Do you smell or see it? 

Do you have feedback about the neighborhood? Montrose/Verdugo City/Sparr Heights Neighborhood Association will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at Citibank, 2350 Honolulu Ave., Montrose. 


Trash Talk: Montrose Waste Goes Solar

Christopher J. Boghosian October 25, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Trash is an inevitable "urban" problem. The more densely populated a place is, the more anonymously and carelessly people can behave. Additionally, the wider the appeal of a place, the broader its reach, meaning, folks without a personal connection to the place will visit and treat the place accordingly. If "Montrose" wants to expand, then they must put their money where their heart is and pay for more services, such as trash collection and clean-up. I was a long-time teacher/substitute at Rosemont Middle School and a few years ago, trash was a MAJOR problem across campus - it got disgusting. Only when the administration put their foot down and instituted harsh consequences did it change. Most folks who frequent Montrose shops and cafes are regulars. With vigilant and strict enforcement against littering and dog littering, people will begin to follow the rules. Tickets ought to be issued to people who litter in addition to other measures. But that also takes folks who are authorized to issue tickets and I doubt the police department is going to prioritize this (though its proven that low-level "crime" such as littering has great impact on high level crime, i.e., people will behave commensurate to the respectability of a place.) Like most things, it'll come down to the 20% who care enough to do something about it. Most (not all!) "officials" will do as little as possible, indirectly putting the burden on those who care, such as the volunteers.
Bob Thompson October 25, 2012 at 07:38 PM
The City of Glendale has an "Adopt-a-Block" program. If you live in the City of Glendale (much of Montrose qualifies), you can contact Sandra Rodrighez at the City of Glendale Community Services Office and sign up for their Adopt a Block program. I have been doing so in the 2300, 2400, 2500, 2600 and 2700 blocks of Honolulu Ave. for the past 10 years. The city provides Orang-a-Tongs and plastic bags for picking up trash and even a graffitti-removal kit. What a great way to give back to your city or town while getting some good outdoor exercise! See you Friday mornings at 7 am Steve!
Bambi Leigh October 25, 2012 at 07:56 PM
I'd love to see an official answer to the smoking question above. I've always assumed that the smoking ban covers all outdoor spaces along Honolulu, and I was really proud of Montrose for making this move. However, it seems I constantly see people smoking nevertheless, which really aggravates me, especially when their smoke drifts into my fresh air. Is it up to us to gently remind our fellow citizens that smoking is not allowed, or is there an entity who should be enforcing this rule?
Rick October 25, 2012 at 08:07 PM
When walking along Honolulu I have noticed that the public trash containers are often overflowing. Perhaps more frequent pickups or more containers are in order. Also, I live in an apartment building with one large dumpster for the BUILDINGS use. Folks with dogs in the neighborhood feel they have the right to walk onto our buildings property and dispose of their pets waste. While I appreciate the neighbors keeping it off of the streets, I personally don't appreciate having to listen to the dumpster lid slam closed at all hours and the dumpster smelling of pet waste. We aren't even allowed our OWN pets in our apartments in our building!
Nicole Charky (Editor) October 25, 2012 at 10:43 PM
@Mr. B - Thanks for your feedback. I wanted to also direct locals to the upcoming Foothill Community Clean Up this Saturday, which starts at Dunsmore Park: http://patch.com/A-yTVm The clean up will mostly be in the La Crescenta area but it's a good way to give back to the community. Patch will be there to help out!
Nicole Charky (Editor) October 25, 2012 at 10:45 PM
@Bob - Thanks for all your hard work and service to the community. I'm going to try out the Montrose clean up soon!
Elaine Alexander October 26, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Not only is the trash in bins a problem, we are now seeing trash being dropped as folks walk and/or drive. No one seems to care about pride anymore. Montrose sidewalks on Honolulu and Verdugo need to be steam cleaned for black spot and stain removal. The Glendale Galleria parking lot (which I understand is owned by the City of Glendale) is also filthy. Our sidewalks are now filthier than some in Los Angeles!
Christopher J. Boghosian October 26, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Thank you for the heads-up, Bob! And thank you for being such a good steward of our community!!!
Christopher J. Boghosian October 26, 2012 at 03:13 PM
I feel your pain, Bambi! I'm constantly running/walking along Honolulu, often with my 1 y.o., no less, and smell smoke at times. The toughest part of this issue is enforcement. I believe most people honor and respect the rules; however, there will always be those who think "just this once" or they simply don't care. So who will enforce the rule? We can "gently" remind folks, but that is often not effective against this type of person to begin with. I know this sound cynical, but I feel it's in their nature to not care, so it often takes some kind of authority to impose their power upon them. It's a tough one. But in the meantime, yes!, by all means, let us be vocal and say something, albeit gently... I remember back in the day, mid-80s, when there was a police officer who used to cruised along Honolulu on foot (Officer Cooper, I believe). He even gave me a ticket for standing on my skateboard on the sidewalk! I kind of wish the city would reinvest in a foot police officer again....
Christopher J. Boghosian October 26, 2012 at 03:27 PM
This trash problem is indicative of a much, much larger problem in urban life and all the comments above are touching upon it. Humans are continually tempted to be careless and lazy. Personal investment, personal connection, and accountability counteract this. However, as a space becomes increasingly dense, people who have no personal investment, nor personal connection move into the space. And in a dense population, people are able to move about and act anonymously; therefore, there is very little accountability. Many folks who move into Montrose are in it for the long-haul. They invest in an expensive house and plan on raising their kids here. They get involved in activities, groups and such. They take care of the place. But many others are here temporarily, either living or working, and go about the place like parasites, feeding off the place, consuming and leaving behind their droppings. Not all, of course. In fact, I believe MOST PEOPLE are gracious and responsible. It's just the small fraction that ruin it for everyone. My point is this: as Montrose grows, so does it's problems. It's inevitable. It's the nature of life. In one famous experiment, lab rats were continually being added into a fixed, confined space and after a certain point, they began to eat each other....
Denise October 27, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Some of the issues regarding the trash seem simple on the surface.....more frequent trash pick. Obviously a few more trash receptacles near heavy trash areas, such as Coffee Bean would be a great start. I think when people see the trash overflowing, it breeds the "I'll dump it wherever-since 'they' dont care enough to empty the trash, mentality. So, what would a few more trash receptacles hurt? Seems like the best answer. Same goes for the terrible looking sidewalk in front of Andersen's Pets. That part of the shopping park has that 'run-down' feel, because of the stains on the sidewalk, as well as the very strong dog urine odors. As for the trash bins behind the restaurants...same thing....maybe more frequent pick-ups. Yes, it costs more money, but it changes the whole environment for the positive. It is such a wonderful town, and these would be just small things to improve it even more.
Rita Z. October 27, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Montrose is in danger if becoming a victim of its own success. The constant publicity and draw of its major events (farmers market, Oktoberfest, Spooktacular, Christmas parade, art walks, etc) draw in thousands and thousands of people. Unfortunately, along with the financial benefit of this exposure is the presence of those who don't care about Montrose, who see it as nothing more than a place to visit for their good times. They aren't invested in keeping Montrose clean or safe because there's no imminent reason for them to do so. I'd also like to see increased patrols in the area--ideally on foot or bike.
Gregg October 27, 2012 at 04:40 PM
I had friends come in from out of town during the Summer and we went down to Montrose to eat. We ended up parking in the big lot by the cleaners. The first thing I noticed when I got out of the car was that it smelled just like the dump in Eagle Rock. Rotting food. What made it much worse was it was over 100 as well. I notived the big brown dumpsters on wheels were open with mounds of trash sticking out of them. My out of town guests commented on the smell as well and I said this is nothing new in Montrose. Something really needs to be done.
Denise October 27, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Regarding my above comment of 10-26-12 @ 7:06pm. I happened to go for a walk last night and passed Andersen's Pets & to my wonderful surprise, I noticed that the sidewalk had been cleaned. It was so wonderful!!!!! Thank you!!! Hopefully whoever did the clean-up will read this & know how appreciated their hard work is.
SoRo33 October 29, 2012 at 02:34 PM
I realize that this thread is mainly talking about trash on Honolulu, but I have issue with the illegal dumping that s seen in the neighborhoods. There is always a dirty couch or mattress sitting on the sidewalk. I have called the illegal dumping hotline countless times to have bulky items picked up along my street. This also brings down the value of our town and makes it look trashy and ghetto. One can't drive down Montrose Ave without noticing this "trash." Landlords need to be educated and educate their tenants on how to properly dispose their bulky items.
abba October 29, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Finally somebody takes up this issue. Every week I go to Honolulu for spinning and I'm discussed how dirty the street is, Trash bins are full, side walks are dirty (need to be steam cleaned by a professional company) port a potty on the parking lot has never been cleaned I think and smells. Montrose should have some extra pride in their town. We're attracting more people to our romantic little village these days. We should also consider building a public restroom somewhere! Hope changes will come soon!
Nicole Charky (Editor) October 29, 2012 at 08:44 PM
@Delicious waffle - I haven't heard of anyone mentioning restrooms before. Do other people notice there is a bathroom shortage in Montrose? Or, is this something business owners deal with? If so, I'd be curious to hear any suggestions about where public restrooms could go.
Lisa October 29, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Re: Smoking Policy - Montrose isn't yet Armo-Nazi Glendale/Burbank where smoking is a punishable offense.
Concerned_Mother November 04, 2012 at 04:40 AM
Everyone knows Montrose has a major trash problem! I can't drive down the street without seeing trash cans full of trash! Christopher raises a good point which is that we aren't being tough on crime. The people stuffing our bins with filth are criminals and should be punished to the full extend of the law. THat officer was right to give you a ticket Christopher, but he didn't go far enough. People need to know that they can and will wind up in jail if they litter. Asking small businesses to clean up their trash is punishing success. We need to punish the litterbugs instead!


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