Municipal Services and Safety in DTR

Starting a new thread here on all things municipal services like trash pickup, water, etc. I think the logistics of providing these types of things might be more unique in a downtown area compared to the suburbs or even the edge rural areas.

The city just announced these new underground waste collection systems. The end result may reduce the amount of trash bins lining our sidewalks.

A new initiative coming to Downtown Raleigh aims to keep sidewalks clean and save space, time, and money. Raleigh’s oldest streets were built without alleys and the trash and recycling carts lining their sidewalks have long been an issue for pedestrians. The unsightly containers smell, restrict access, and were identified as the top concern in a 2018 downtown cleanliness survey.


I don’t get what this is. Basically an underground dumpster?


Shocking to read we are the first in the country…
““It’s very exciting for us that Raleigh is the first city in the country to adopt this underground storage model,” said Solid Waste Services Director Stan Joseph.”

This video will help describe it also


WOAH Raleigh did something right! I’ve been asking for something like this forever. The garbage bins literally downtown on certain days was awful.


Yes! These are a great idea and a wonderful way to reallocate some parking toward a higher use and free up pedestrian ROW. Would love to see some public art adorning the exterior, too. One concern I have that I have expressed as a Bicycle and Pedestrian Commissioner for the city (but not received an answer on) is the impact that placing something underground in a curb managed space may have on the planned tier one bike facilities for downtown. It would just be extremely frustrating if some of these were placed in curb space that would be needed installing this network in the next few years. Hopefully not an issue though! :+1:


They use these in Florence, Italy - though they are a different style - replacing the dumpsters that sit along the streets in Rome. They certainly improve the apprentice of the streets and the hygiene, I believe, by mitigating flies and odors. The first couple times I saw them I didn’t even know what they were. Florence has 4 at each station, divided for glass, cardboard, metals and trash. Will Raleigh’s provide the recycling option? Good for Raleigh, this is a positive step and a good solution to an unavoidable problem.


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Looks like a good idea. This pilot project includes six containers, each equivalent to 20 carts.

The write-up says they will collect trash, mixed recycling, and cardboard.

Edit: also just read that the three recycling containers will be wrapped in artwork by local artists. Cool!


I may have posted this in the “show off things in other cities” thread, but I feel it deserves mention here. A financial incentive system for recycling.

*“Corner of Wilmington and Hargett” *

Indeed, the waste output of the restaurants in this area has been a point of contention for residents and guests for quite some time. I wonder if it was citizen action or the property owner themself driving at the city to make a change like this. Are there other areas in downtown that could greatly benefit from getting rid of curbside collection?

I’ve also seen these used in Florence, which features streets that stand no chance of fitting a full-sized collection truck. I wonder how they are emptied, though? It seems unlikely that there is any underground access, which would mean using some sort of vacuum system or lift. I don’t remember seeing how the ones in Florence were handled.


I would assume these would be placed on the west side of Wilmington, away from the bicycle facilities. But it’s also a safe assumption that the containers will need some sort of large vehicle access, meaning that future waste containers that are placed along the bike lanes will be sharing the space. Not unlike the current trend of couriers, delivery trucks, and waste collection vehicles sometimes parking in bike lines as to perform their duties. Unfortunate, but we keep ordering things from Amazon and throwing away the packaging and waste.

So, I’m going to guess that you’re talking about Florence, Italy, not Florence, SC.
If so, I don’t know how they might be emptying these units there, but I do know that service trucks in Europe can be much smaller than they are in the US. I remember the first time that I saw a fire engine in France and it almost looked “cute” like a toy to me.


@grey @John I assume the video that @Drew posted above is how they are emptied.

It is how it’s emptied. The one that I posted prior is a more in depth video about the company, its mission, etc.

Here’s a Florentine garbage truck


It’s so cute, huh???

So obviously garbage bins have been an issue in Raleigh for long time. Nothing better than sitting in Brewery Bhavana sitting next to the window and looking right out at nasty garbage :).

So I love the fact the city is trying to solve this problem. I’ve watched the video and it looks just like a giant garbage bin in the ground that they can come out to… pull the bag out and empty. Any ideas on how this would work? Are we replacing a bunch of regular bins with one giant one? Do vendors wheel out to a selected garbage location and empty there? So its basically like a dumpster you see behind a building… but you can only see the top of it?

Installation of the underground containers. Taken from Twitter users.



But smaller than I was thinking…?


They’re huge. Look at that person. This is as big as they can make me to fit this area and it goes further underground.

You’re seeing about half of the container.