Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Should Janesville alter leaf pickup cycle?

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Greg Peck
Monday, November 18, 2013

My wife and I had our leaves raked and out at the curb in time for the city's collection crews last Tuesday. Within a day, leaves were blowing our way from a huge elm and an old oak just across the street.

Last Monday, I got a copy of a letter that frustrated resident Richard Eldredge, who lives near Vista Park, sent to the city. He included a photo showing oaks that still had most of their leaves, just as the city crews were about to come that day for the once-around collection.

“What will be dropping in the next 10 days are the approximately 90 percent of the oak leaves on the approximately 70 oak trees in just these two facing blocks,” Eldredge wrote. “As the past often predicts the future, what has happened in the 27 years I've been a witness to it will happen yet again. In the two-week period after the city leaves(!) our neighborhood, 80 percent of the remaining oak leaves will fall and a huge number of them will migrate on the prevailing winds to the north and present an even larger cleanup for the property owners on that side.”

Eldredge reasons that if it's impossible to change the pickup schedule so the older neighborhoods such as his are picked up later in the cycle, it should make a miniature pickup at the end of the cycle in these areas. (Eldredge forwarded to me today a response from the city stating it plans to later blow/mulch leaves around that park).

Then Sunday, a caller in The Gazette's Sound Off complained: “As usual, our area is losing out on a week of falling leaves. My 6-year-old granddaughter asked why the city doesn't clean one area first one year and second the next. It's simple and logical. Is anyone at the city listening to this 6-year-old?”

I believe I've discussed this issue with the city in years past, and the answer seems to be that officials want to keep the two-week collection route consistent so residents have a good idea when crews are coming. I don't know about you, but I always wind up referring to the map each autumn to make sure I know which day crews are coming past our house. I don't know how much the “consistency” from year to year helps residents. Besides, if some mature trees have yet to drop their leaves in some older neighborhoods like ours, why does the city collect those piles first and leave those in younger neighborhoods for the second week?

It seems to be a legitimate question to me. Maybe someone with fresh perspective, perhaps with a lifetime of military logistics in his background, could consider this situation. Hmm; I wonder where we might find such a person...

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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