A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Leaf piles in the street: Patience, please

Written December 2nd, 2020 by Hasso Hering

On Oak Street south of Ninth Avenue, leaves pile up in the bike lane on Dec. 2.

This is the last period of the fall when Republic Services picks up piles of leaves left on Albany streets. Pointing this out also highlights how impossible it is to carry out the city’s advice on just how and where to pile up leaves.

The final leaf pickup period started Nov. 30 and runs through Dec. 11.

On its website, the city has recommendations in regard to the flood of autumn leaves. First, it says, jam as much as you can into the yard debris containers. But those carts get full really fast, especially if you have large shade trees nearby. And since in Albany the carts get emptied only every other week, that’s no way to get rid of a lot of leaves.

The city suggests composting, too, which sounds swell if you’re a back-to-the-land type.

Whatever is left of the autumnal avalanche of leaves, the city says, rake them into the street without blocking the bike lanes. The resulting piles should be narrow and two feet from the curb.

As the photos here illustrate, that’s impossible. There’s no way to rake leaves into the street without piling them up in the bike lane, especially if you try to keep the space at the curb clear to allow rain water to flow through.

Cyclists understand this, and when the lanes are blocked, we ride in the traffic lane. There’s no way around it.

The only way to minimize blockages is to pick up the piles as quickly as possible after the leaves have been piled up. But let’s remember to be patient. It’s a big job, and it does take time. (hh)

Two feet from the curb? Well, that’s not always possible, as here on Oak Street.

5 responses to “Leaf piles in the street: Patience, please”

  1. Chuck says:

    Often wonder if Republic could switch to weekly yard debris for November and December. Would help me.

    • bp says:

      Yes, yes and YES!!! Weekly yard debris would solve many problems.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      Why should the rest of US pay extra so YOU can have weekly pick up? Rent an extra can.

      I’d prefer they switch to monthly service (with appropriate reduction in rates) for these 2 months because that’s more than I need. After all, it’s all about ME!

  2. Don says:

    Hi Hasso, next time you are out my way, let me know and I will show you where these leaves might end up.

  3. Bill Kapaun says:

    That’s already a somewhat dangerous stretch of road for bikes. There’s a slight “S” in the road, but the drivers tend to want to drive straight, so they intrude over the paint line on both sides. Also cars turning South from Lowe’s tend to swing over the line into the bike lane without looking for bikes. I’ve had multiple close calls where their tire was was well into the bike lane next to me.

    There’s also one resident that tends to dump their leaves in the street year round.


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