On paper and in theory, the City of Naperville’s Leaf Pick-up program sounds fantastic, but in reality, it’s not working and nobody really seems to care. For the most part, it’s another socially acceptable non-productive bureaucratic program; one of those ‘check-the-box’, it’s completed city services.
Here is how it is supposed to work. Residents are offered the opportunity to move their leaves to the curbside, and then every two weeks, over a six-week period, the city dispatches trucks to remove the leaves. During that time, three pick-ups are to occur. Then when that’s complete, a street sweeper makes a final run through to clear out any remaining debris. Sounds great except for the following snafus:
- The leaf-removal trucks miss a lot of leaves and simply re-distribute the piles at curbside throughout the neighborhood.
- The first pick-up begins before the leaves are ready for pick-up, the second pick-up has the most leaves for pick-up, hence leaving the biggest mess, and the third-pick up, if it does happen, is a rush job just trying to get done.
- When the program ends, some piles of leaves remain at curbside, because residents don’t know the schedule for pick-up.
Most of my neighbors have learned that the best way to make sure the street is cleaned, is to do it themselves. All it takes is a broom, a handy-dandy dustpan, some time, and if you’re really lucky, a little hand-held leaf -blower.
I called the City for the fun of it, to see if there was any plan for the street-sweeper to roll by, and I was connected to the Department of Public Works. I spoke to a very pleasant young lady named Ginger (everybody is young compared to me) and she couldn’t provide any information about if or when a street-sweeper was in the leaf-pick-up equation. It’s not her fault, she is probably very good at what she does, but apparently her supervisor didn’t provide her with any talking points. I find it hard to believe that I am the only one wondering about the final step of the process.
It won’t be long and snow will cover any remnants of leaf piles at curbside. The City snow plow will make sure those leaves are redistributed, ultimately finding there way to covering sewers, leading to some flooding. Like clockwork, spring will arrive and the whole process will repeat itself next year. It’s just one more box the City can checkoff as completed as it does year after year after year.