Spurred by complaints from weary residents awoken by noisy, middle-of-the-night garbage pickups, the alderman who represents much of downtown Chicago is pushing a measure to inflict more financial pain on waste haulers that break city rules banning the practice.
Minimum fines for late night or early morning garbage pickups in mixed residential and commercial areas outside the core downtown would jump to $500 from $100, under Ald.
The changes were endorsed Tuesday by the Finance Committee and are slated for routine City Council approval Wednesday.
Pickup is prohibited between 9:30 p.m. and 7 a.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9:30 p.m. to 9 a.m. on Saturday in Sunday in mixed-use areas. The only exception is in the area bounded by Lake Michigan, the Chicago River, the South Branch of the river and Congress Parkway.
The areas affected under the regulations are served by private waste haulers, not city crews.
"In those areas north of the river and west of the river, we have a number of waste haulers who are routinely and flagrantly ignoring the code we have in place, so the purpose of the amendment is to substantially raise the fines associated with that illegal activity," Reilly, 42nd, told colleagues.
"Many of the large waste hauler companies that are breaking the law today look at the current fine structure as easily wrapped into their cost of doing business," he added. "As we've learned, sometimes raising the penalties for bad behavior is the best way to improve a business's behavior in our neighborhood."
As with many city ordinances, for the rule to be effective, it would have to be enforced.