SEATTLE, Wash. -- A Seattle neighborhood is tackling a smelly and ugly problem - trash. It’s been an issue for years in the alleys of the Chinatown International District. Community leaders say they’ve found a solution with a new pilot clean-up program.
Under the new program, five alleys have been cleaned up, repainted, and given new lights. The huge dumpsters have been replaced with smaller bins.
However, the biggest change is garbage in the International District gets picked up daily, sometimes two to three times a day, instead of once a week.
“It really does change the tenure of the alleys. These alleys used to house retail and housing some of our retail stores were born in these alleys. For years they were filled with dumpsters and trash, now they can be a place where community can take them back," said Don Blakeney with the Chinatown International District Business Improvement Area.
Chinatown is home to more than 100 restaurants, which generate a lot of food waste. Grease and large amounts of garbage could be seen spilling out of dumpsters.
“The peaks and valleys were so extreme, on any given day it could look okay. But there were many days where the containers were over the top overflowing absolutely horrible,” said Tom Gannon with Seattle Public Utilities, which picks up the trash.
The neighborhood has leveraged over $200,000 local grants and partnerships to make physical improvements to Canton and Maynard alleys. The city and community spent the last couple months educating restaurants on the new pick-up and garbage container changes.
The community hopes the cleaner and safer alleys will attract more foot traffic and businesses, like start-ups, to set-up shop in the alleys like they used to 100 years ago.
Five more alleys are expected to be cleaned-up next year.