Picking It Up: Changes to Detroit’s Trash and Snow Removal

Trash pick up, snow removal improvements seen in post-bankruptcy Detroit.

a woman wearing yellow speaks with two other women on a sidewalk

Stephanie Chang

Throughout the bankruptcy proceedings, cuts to city pensions and threats to the Detroit Institute of Arts’ collection ruled the headlines. When city services are discussed, public safety and blighted homes and businesses often get first billing.

However, city services affect day-to-day life in Detroit and resonate with residents citywide including trash removal, bulk pick up and snow plowing.

Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes noted in his remarks while confirming the bankruptcy that these faltering city services had a profound effect on city residents and businesses.

“A large number of people in this City are suffering hardship because of what we have antiseptically called service delivery insolvency. What this means is that the City is unable to provide basic municipal services such as police, fire and EMS services to protect the health and safety of the people here. Detroit’s inability to provide adequate municipal services runs deep and has for years. It is inhumane and intolerable, and it must be fixed,” Rhodes wrote.

Representing the  North End and Osborn neighborhoods and Southwest Detroit, two WDET guests give a “boots-on-the-ground” take on the how residents are reacting to the privatization of trash pick-up and snow removal.

A resident of Lafayette Park near downtown Detroit, Rep. Stephanie Chang represents Michigan’s 6th District, which extends from Southwest to The Villages along the Detroit River.

Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Chang

Quincy Jones resides in the North End and is executive director of the Osborn Neighborhood Alliance.  

Photo Courtesy of Quincy Jones

They spoke with WDET’s Travis Wright about what they’ve experienced on a personal level and what they’re hearing from the diverse Detroit communities they represent.