Whoosh! Leaf vacuum in action

The vacuum crew does Lawnridge Street at Takena Park on Wednesday.

The vacuum crew does Lawnridge Street at Takena Park on Wednesday.

With a vacuum like that, keeping your place clear of leaves this fall would be a breeze, assuming you could wrestle the big hose around, which looks easier than it is.

I came across this city of Albany crew on Wednesday as they -- the truck's driver and the hose wrangler -- cleared a gutter along one of the sides of Takena Park. I quickly realized that this was not part of the regular leaf pickup program on Albany streets, which is run by the Republic Services disposal company as part of its franchise arrangement with the city.

No, as Park Operations Supervisor Rick Barnett explained via email, it's what the parks people do in the fall: "We pick up or blow leaves etc. off the turf, parking lots etc. in the parks, suck them up and either use them for mulch or send them for composting. Our leaf pickup is only at parks and areas we manage that have large quantities of leaves (which is plenty).  We have good equipment which makes our efforts time- and cost-effective.  It would be impossible for us to put all of our leaves on the curb and would be impractical for Republic Services to pick up them up. Republic Services is helpful with the large containers and hauling necessary for final disposal."

On city streets away from parks, the fall's many tons of fallen leaves have been mostly swept into the streets for pickup by the disposal company. Republic Services scheduled three leaf pickup sweeps of city streets through Dec. 19. The first as been completed, and second is under way until Nov. 28, and the third is scheduled Dec. 8-19.

The company and the city in its newsletter asked residents to rake leaves into the street only just before each pickup period.  "Rows should be long, narrow, and two feet away from the curb. Leaves should not block bike lanes, storm drains, or driveways."

"Two feet from the curb" and "not in bike lines" are mutually exclusive. So it's no surprise that, as I mentioned a couple of days ago, that request is often ignored. (hh)


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