Meadville officials have launched a simplified leaf pickup schedule that they hope will result in less confusion and fewer phone calls to city hall when leaf collection starts on Oct. 21.
The Public Works Department proposed a new map with the city divided into just four areas of leaf collection, City Manager Andy Walker told City Council at its most recent meeting.
Three areas — the northeastern, northwestern and southern sections of the city — will have curbside collection of loose leaves during a designated week early in the season and another week later in the season. Leaves should be collected behind the curb and not in the street itself, according to city officials.
The fourth area, which consists of the section of downtown Meadville bounded by Arch Street on the south, Water Street on the west, North Street on the north and North Main Street, Diamond Park and South Main Street on the east, will be addressed via regularly scheduled visits of the city's sweeper truck.
In the past, the city’s leaf collection map identified up to 15 specific areas of leaf collection, with three or more specific days set for collection in each small group of streets. Given the unpredictability of fall weather as well as occasional staffing and equipment issues, sticking to such a precise schedule can be problematic, according to Walker.
“Inevitably if we get a day behind, people freak out and it generates hundreds of —,” he said, pausing to tone down his hyperbole, “— dozens of phone calls.”
Leaf-raking residents even call when the city gets ahead of schedule, Walker said.
“Say we’ve had a good day, we’ll move ahead, and they see the leaf truck go by and they call and say, ‘... you came a day early,’” he told council. “Yes, we did, but we’re still going to come tomorrow.”
Under the new system, residents in each of the three curbside collection areas will be asked to have their leaves collected behind the curb by Monday of their designated weeks. The leaves will be collected over the course of the week.
A city Facebook post reminded residents of the importance of proper leaf placement prior to collection: “Please remember, leaves are to be placed behind the curb, not in the street, in order to prevent clogging of storm drains and consequent roadway flooding.”
A new approach to any existing city service tends to encounter a few bumps in the road, but Walker was optimistic about leaf collection this year.
“We’re hoping this gives us greater flexibility (and) reduces concern and complaints from the public, but it represents a change,” he said. “Hopefully this clarifies and simplifies the map and the process.”
West Mead Township talks leaf collection
At their meeting Tuesday, West Mead Township supervisors noted that vacuum-truck collection of roadside leaves will begin over the next few weeks and continue as long as weather allows.
As in the past, the south side of the township will be cleared on Mondays and Tuesdays. The north side will be cleared on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Supervisor Michael Jordan warned drivers to be cautious near roadside leaves, saying such piles can attract children.
Residents can also bag their leaves if they prefer.
For more information or to arrange for pickup by the Road Department, call the township building at 336-1271.
Mike Crowley can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.