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Cart Clog : Council Studies Plan to Return 800 Baskets, End Storage Gridlock


About a year ago, the Glendale City Council tried to solve the notorious shopping cart problem, but the supposed remedy has saddled the city with a glut of carts.

The council passed an ordinance allowing city crews to pick up shopping carts left on the city's streets, sidewalks, parks and other public rights-of-way.

Grocers were required to pay $15 per cart to get them back from the Public Works Corporation Yard at 541 W. Chevy Chase Drive. The city could dispose of those that went unclaimed after one month.

Now, about 800 carts, estimated to be worth about $75 to $100 each, are being held at the yard. They have taken over the yard's storage area and are hindering its daily operation, said Ray Cruz, administrative analyst.

So once again, the shopping cart problem has rolled onto the City Council's agenda.

At its Tuesday meeting, the council took the first step toward returning the carts to the grocers.

The council introduced an ordinance that would return the carts to the stores free, waiving the $15 impound fee, for grocers who would agree to test a cart-control system for 90 days.

The markets will test an electronic system, called Kart Kontrol, that is supposed to automatically lock a shopping cart's wheels if it is taken off a market's property, Cruz said.

City crews will stop picking up the carts of participating grocers for 90 days while the test is being conducted at the Vons at 311 Los Feliz Blvd.

Since May, the city has been keeping all of the impounded carts while the city's staff and the Southern California Grocers Assn. discussed ways to keep shopping carts on the grounds of stores.

"We need to get them out of there," Cruz said.

If the new ordinance is adopted, it would allow the city to release the carts belonging to any grocers willing to participate in the cart-control test, Cruz said.

Three grocery companies--Lucky Stores, Ralphs and Vons--have signed up to monitor and evaluate the test results, Cruz said.

If Kart Kontrol proves ineffective, those companies have agreed to consider another system.

"I want to stress that we want to return carts to any grocers who also want to do this test," Cruz said.

The council will vote on the ordinance Nov. 21.

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