Shopping carts scourge of Daly City

Businesses may soon be rung up with hefty fines for stray shopping carts that residents say block narrow streets, end up on lawns, bump into cars and act as sleds for children.

Daly City officials could soon introduce an ordinance that would require businesses to keep better track of their carts or face fines if they do not comply. Vice Mayor Maggie Gomez said the ordinance will hopefully stem the growing problem in neighborhoods around shopping malls, such as Westlake and Serramonte.

“People who can’t drive take them into surrounding neighborhoods,” Gomez said. “It’s especially a problem at Westlake because the center is growing and the surrounding neighborhoods are really getting them.”

The city’s ordinance may go into effect this spring and the first step of the plan would require storesto put signs on their carts that say it is illegal to remove them from the parking lot and give a contact phone number to report abandoned carts. The City Council will meet later this month to discuss other details of the plan.

While many stores send out employees or contract with firms to retrieve the carts, their efforts have not been enough, Gomez said. City staff has been picking up abandoned carts and delivering them to the stores for no charge. The city may rethink that policy and begin charging the stores for the service, she said.

Not all residents agree that the ordinance will work.

Flo Powers, who has lived in Daly City for 49 years, said shopping carts have always been a problem but it would be very hard for the city to rid of them.

“They are all over the place — it’s a blight,” she said. “Good luck to [city officials,] but I don’t think that [the ordinance] would have much luck.”

Recently, Westlake property manager, Kimco Realty Corp., sent out a letter to all the stores that stated, “despite your efforts, shopping cart management is below acceptable level.” Kimco Realty asked all stores to provide contact information of whoever is in charge of retrieving the carts.

Although Serramonte Center manager Dick Bartlett said he has seen carts from stores he has never even heard of, he was not sure how effective the city’s ordinance will be.

“Stores are not the ones taking them off the property,” he said. “Too bad you can’t catch the people who’re doing it and fine them.”

svasilyuk@examiner.com

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