Shopping carts left throughout Pueblo cause public nuisance

Shopping carts that are normally left inside stores are being taken and left throughout the city of Pueblo.

City officials now say it’s causing a nuisance.

The carts are being left behind bus stops, open fields, on sidewalks, in residential areas and many other places. According to officials, businesses are not able to keep up with the number of missing carts.

The City receives complaints on a regular basis about these leftover carts. They are causing blight in neighborhoods and other areas, officials said. They would even cause a public safety issue.

“This situation is fast becoming a public nuisance, and we’d like our citizens to know there is a cost associated with retrieving them,” said Jenny Eickelman, Interim Deputy City Manager. “We have found as many as 15 to 20 carts left behind at some locations, which is problematic from a public safety perspective as well as from a cost standpoint.”

Brenda Broyles,
 Pueblo’s Director of Transit agrees. She said about 6 hours of her day is spent dealing with shopping carts. Bus operators check on a specific bus stop on Pueblo Boulevard across from the Walmart where 25 to 30 carts are left each day. She said the operators radio in their reports, and are constantly encountering new cart complications.

“Sometimes they approach the intersections and the wind or whatever have pushed carts into the line of traffic,” Broyles explained. “They have to stop the bus, get out, and go around and remove the cart so they can actually pull in to the bus stop! So it’s not very safe,” she added.

When those calls come in, Broyles then has to E-mail the city, who contacts the Walmart manager, who gets an employee to cross four lanes of traffic to recover the carts.

That one location is a problem spot, but Broyles said it’s a city-wide issue that the businesses need to take responsibility for, and come up with a solution.

Taking carts from businesses, according to officials, often ends up with prices being increased to make up for the missing carts.

“Some stores just can’t keep up,” Eickelman said, “At some point it may become necessary for the City to step in and remove the carts ourselves, which is not a very good use of our taxpayers’ money, especially at a time when the City’s budget is so stressed. Because the City is understaffed, if our employees are out collecting shopping carts, it means that some other City service is not being provided.”

Broyles suggested businesses, especially major corporations, could invest in auto-locking carts to avoid them being pushed off their property. In the meantime, officials said elderly and disabled public transit users should invest in collapsable carts, which can be brought on busses, to avoid carrying their groceries across the street.

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