Raleigh Faces Backlash After Trashing Environmental Improvement Strategy

By Brent Woodcox

Stop me if you have heard this one before. Raleigh tries to implement a progressive, forward-thinking policy that will positively impact quality of life in our city. One person complains. City leaders immediately abandon the effort. It’s an all too familiar story in our city.

Well, it happened again.

From the News and Observer

The city of Raleigh is temporarily halting its underground trash-collection experiment after some nearby property owners and residents complained the big, semi-buried garbage bins smelled and should be moved.

The six underground Molok bins were installed at the intersection of Hargett and Wilmington streets to get trash and recycling carts off the street. ...

Some of those complaints came from customers at the M&F Bank branch at the same corner, according to M&F Bank CEO James Sills.

“The placement of the containers near a bank, that has in-and-out traffic and it’s been in the same location for 96 years, they just didn’t think it was appropriate,” he said. “And we felt over time those containers would smell and would be, eventually, an eyesore. And we were receiving that type of complaints from our customers.” ...

Brent Johnson walks by the bins to and from his parking garage and only had complaints when the street was closed to install them. He does know people who complained about the smell, he said.

Sean McKinney lives a few blocks away and noticed when the bins were installed but “hadn’t given it a second thought.” He’d never noticed smells or any problems.

The system was introduced with fanfare at a June press conference with representatives from area businesses, city representatives and Molok employees.

The bins were the first of their kind in the country and worked as intended, city officials said.

“This was a new technology that we wanted to explore,” said Damien Graham, a spokesman for the city. “And with any pilot program it gives us an opportunity to learn about things that are working well and things that aren’t working well. And in this case we learned we could have done a better job to communicating to the partners and area properties about the program and location. As such, we are going to have to stop service and remove those cans.”

The system cost $30,000, which doesn’t include the cost of installing and now removing the bins, he said. ...
— Anna Johnson - N&O

So that’s it. One business complains about what could happen and the effort to improve the city and our environment is completely abandoned. Even though the city had touted themselves as a national leader over the program.

Just like that. $30,000 in taxpayer money literally in the garbage. Raleigh isn’t a city of innovation. It’s a city of NIMBYs.

Brent Woodcox