Q Recently, I followed a garbage truck along Highway 1 for a couple of miles and watched as various pieces of plastic and paper blew out of the truck. Is this occurrence littering and therefore a punishable violation? It seems as if it would be, since I would be cited if trash flew out of my vehicle. If it is a violation, how should it be reported? Why can't trash haulers do a better job of preventing this?
Sallie Smith, Aptos
A "No vehicle transporting garbage, swill, used cans or bottles, wastepapers, waste cardboard, ashes, refuse, trash or rubbish, or any noisome, nauseous or offensive matter, or anything being transported for disposal or recycling shall be driven or moved upon any highway unless the load is totally covered in a manner that will prevent the load or any part of the load from spilling or falling from the vehicle," said Officer Sarah Jackson of the California Highway Patrol while citing California Vehicle Code section 23115a.
While trash collection companies use truck design to try to keep garbage inside, some non-bagged items do blow out, Jackson continued.
When you see a garbage truck with litter blowing out, you have three options, Jackson said.
Call the CHP non-emergency dispatch number at 796-2100 for officers to issue a citation; call the waste management company to "voice your displeasure;" or contact Caltrans' Adopt-A-Highway program at 805-542-4755 or email@example.com about getting out there to help keep our highways clean.
"She can choose one or a combination of all three," Jackson said.
Meanwhile, Jackson offered a bit of trivia: The two things the California Vehicle Code allows to fall onto the roadway are clear water and feathers from live birds, she said.
Bay reservoir replacement project on Cardiff Place
Work begins Monday, Feb. 11, to build a water tank and associated infrastructure at the Bay Reservoir Site on Cardiff Place in Santa Cruz. The project is expected to last six weeks.
Gateway Pacific Construction Inc. will perform the work for the city's Water Department.
The work includes installing water transmission mains. Monday's task involves excavating for the installation of the underground pipelines.
During work hours, through traffic will be off-limits along Cardiff Place between Iowa Drive and Cardiff Court. It will reopen to two-way traffic at the end of each day. Bay Drive and High Street are suitable detours.
Residents inside the closure area will be allowed access at all times, as needed. Crews will try to keep construction disturbance to a minimum but area residents may experience traffic delays, restricted street parking and increased noise during regular business hours.
For information, contact Doug Valby, project engineer, at 420-5212 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Street Smarts appears Mondays and Thursdays. New topics are posted weekdays on the blog, at www.santacruzlive.com/blogs/streetsmarts. Follow it also on Twitter and Facebook. Submit questions to those aforementioned social media sites or to email@example.com. Make sure to include your name, city of residence and a phone number where you can be reached.