Ask ELi: Are We Raking Leaves into the Street Now?

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 3:17 pm
Alice Dreger

Photo by Jim Pivarnik.

ELi runs a public service called Ask ELi to Investigate. Readers send in questions and we try to get them answered. A reader recently asked:

“It’s my understanding that leaves are not to be raked to the street but are supposed to be left on the green area between the sidewalk and street, but it seems like people all put their leaves in the street. Plus, the City did a pick up this week despite the snow and [the snow] made it difficult to get leaves that weren’t in the street. Where are leaves supposed to be?”

The reader is referring to the City of East Lansing’s unusual service of leaf collection in which the Department of Public Works (DPW) crews come around and collect leaves that homeowners have raked to the curb, then compost the leaves.

Here’s what you need to know:

The City is extending collection. According to a press release from the City issued today, “In order to accommodate the snow event and prolonged cold temperatures that prevented many residents from raking leaves to the curb over the past week, DPW will also be extending fall bulk leaf collection to the week of Nov. 25 for the entire City. All residents, regardless of whether they are on the east or west side of the City, should have leaves raked to the curb by 7 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 25 to ensure collection.”

Pick-up may take some time. Some leaves will be collected before Thanksgiving, some after, according to the City. Regardless, you should have any leaves and yard waste you want picked up to the curb by next Monday morning at 7 a.m.

Hurry up if you can. If it snows again, DPW will have to divert crews to dealing with snow and ice removal and that makes leaf pickup less likely. The sooner you get your leaves out, the better for the crews.

Rake your leaves to the curb. If you live where there is a “parkway” – that strip of green between the sidewalk and the curb – rake the leaves to there. If you live where there is no parkway, rake your leaves to your side of the curb (stopping short of the curb). If you live where there is no curb, rake your leaves to the edge of your yard, just short of the street.

Don’t rake leaves into the street! Doing so can cause significant localized flooding which can be problematic for people using streets and sidewalks and even more problematic for people whose basements and yards might get flooded.

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