Friday, October 7, 2016

Would Single-Sales Alcohol Ban Keep Plainfield Cleaner?

After hearing the disappointment of city residents who cleaned up trash only to find more just a day later, I wondered whether a ban on selling single containers of beer or alcohol would help. Much of the trash seems to be empty cans and bottles from public drinking.

New Jersey municipalities have a lot of power over beer and alcohol sales, ranging from setting hours of operation for liquor stores to outright bans on all sales of alcohol. A restriction on single-container sales would no doubt put a dent in revenues at neighborhood liquor stores, but might prevent the all-day drinking at train stations that undoes the work of volunteer cleanup campaigns..

Resident Timothy Priano expressed frustration at Monday's City Council meeting over the chronic problem of trash at the train stations. He and other Queen City Pride volunteers cleaned up around the Netherwood station Sunday, and Councilman Barry Goode led a neighborhood cleanup Saturday at Clinton Avenue and West Front Street. Priano called for increased police patrols at the train stations, but NJ Transit is actually in charge of the stations. Still, Police Director Carl Riley said city police responded over 100 times to problems at the main station downtown and 70 times to the Netherwood station. He said police have picked up intoxicated individuals, but must take the most severely impaired to hospitals to be treated for possible alcohol poisoning.

(A ban on single sales was not mentioned Monday, it was just a thought of mine later,)

Priano also asked about a NJ Clean Communities grant to Plainfield, which is passed to the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority for cleaning up business districts in the city. Finance Director Ron West said a prior council approved turning the grant money over to the PMUA and promised to research it. The 2016 grant was $85,719.58.

Here is Queen City Pride's message about Sunday's cleanup:

What an amazing weekend of our neighbors that came out and joined in both Clean-ups in our Queen City

A little love and caring goes a long way, people do smile when they see you out in the streets, chasing plastic bags, cutting weeds and making everything looks nice and shiny.

We will leave it up to Councilman Barry N Goode to report on the amount of trash that Saturday produced and give us a proper account of the hands that were walking the streets to make Ward 4 sparkle up and down West 7th Street, West Front Street, Clinton Avenue and Grant Avenue.
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As far as Queen City Pride, Part one at the Netherwood Train Station on South Street. We were able to Plant in the planters out front, clean and make a big dent on the South Side 14 hands on Sunday, again the magic number of 20 bags of litter, bottles, 2 tires, and one dead rat ugh

Councilwoman Rebecca Williams was in the thick of the clean-up, moving dumpsters and tossing the bags in!!

So so sad today, people are still just tossing down litter, as residents need to say something, be kind like “Sir you drop your cup” or do what we do, carry plastic bags with us when we are commuting, Dog walking and Running! make a sport of picking up litter, you will be surprised by the reactions!
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A few of us have taken it upon ourselves to take down the “we buy” signs on the corners of the intersections of the city, they are getting tricky by putting the signs up higher, but never fear, we have tools to knock them down too, just have to work a little hard to pull them down, if you see the signs, send us a message


  1. How about videotaping the offenders and running it on the local channel? For those with no shame it would be evidence for ticketing. Approaching/confronting offenders could lead to violence so be careful.

  2. 'A restriction on single-container sales would no doubt put a dent in revenues at neighborhood liquor stores, but might prevent the all-day drinking at train stations that undoes the work of volunteer cleanup campaigns."

    If they are drinking all day and getting intoxicated, surely it takes more than a single container of alcohol. Stupid idea.

    1. Some of the drinkers panhandle, get a beer, panhandle and get another and so on all day.

  3. Hi Bernice,

    When the weather is livable it seems people, mostly men, like to sit on the grass or around the train station and drink their 40 oz. beer or small bottles of booze. I'm not sure banning them would stop the littering, but perhaps for a while if an officer patrolled where the problems were the worst and fined litterers, then the word would get around to use the many trash receptacles we have in this city. This is a difficult problem to deal with.

  4. Liquor bottles, cans, and individually wrapped cigar wrappers account for a great deal of garbage on the streets of Plainfield, however, food and beverage containers from fast food establishments account for another large portion of street garbage.

    There is a lack of fundamental behavior principles, manners and morales amongst a very small minority of individuals who don't have any self-respect and, therefore, no respect for anyone else, much less their environment.

    I urge Plainfield to embark on a campaign to change attitudes and modify behavior by penalizing offenders; whether it's ticketing a driver who dumps a garbage bag out their car window, issuing fines to business owners who fail to properly maintain the façade of their establishment or chooses to, illegally, sell their wares on the sidewalk; or, homeowners who habitually fail to comply with maintenance codes and leave their neighbors to clean up after them. Plainfield needs to stop being so apologetic to those who believe that doing the right thing means impinging on someone else’s rights.

    Whether you rent or your own, each one of us has a responsibility to our neighbors and our community at all times.

  5. when I lived in Hackensack, you better not pack your outside certain area when the street is being clean or else you will be plainfield the street cleaner struggle to clean the street because of packed car. make this guyz job easy and street cleaner by ticketing this cars.


    1. We have had this problem for years and it was there when Sharon was in office and like so many things, she did nothing about it. She was good at ignoring problems. I know dozens of people who emailed her or called her office to get nowhere or no reply on their concerns. I was one of those concerneing Connelly and only when Jerry Green pushed her during an election year did Sharon do anything. Get real here. Sharon is done for any office in Plainfield.

  7. As a person who daily uses the train station, I have to say Plainfield Police have been there a lot over the past few months and improvement has been made as far as the drinking loiterers. Short of a 24 hour cop at the station, the loiterers get kicked out, yet keep returning. Perhaps if there was signage about ticketed passengers only, some sort of trespassing charge could be made? I don't know. But the most that's currently happening is they are moved along ... and keep coming back.

    Another problem concerning outright littering is the removal of so many trash cans throughout the city by PMUA. I realize the removals are due to residents and businesses using them to throw in their trash and not pay the fees. But I still see businesses and residences doing so with the few cans left. However, when you remove trash cans from (for example) near benches and such, often people will leave trash on the bench or ground instead of walking a half-block to throw it in a receptacle.

    I don't know the answers. But the lackadaisical way some parents and kids just throw trash on the ground instead of putting it in a trash can is disturbing, too.