In my opinion, one of the best things the city has done is to institute the Fall Leaf Vacuum Pick-up. According to a news release, "Starting Monday, Oct. 3, the City of Cedar Rapids Solid Waste and Recycling Division will begin operating leaf vacuum trucks, running through Friday, Dec. 9. Residents can expect leaf collection every other week based on the quadrant where they live.
Leaf collection in the southeast and northeast quadrants will start on Mondays in alternating weeks. Leaf collection in the southwest and northwest quadrants will start on Wednesdays in alternating weeks.
Leaf collection schedules were sent to Utilities customers along with their mailed utility bills. The calendar was also printed in the August edition of the Our CR magazine, which is mailed to every Cedar Rapids address. Residents can consult a calendar online at CityofCR.com/Leaf to identify when their leaves will be collected. They can also call the Solid Waste and Recycling Division at (319) 286-5897 to determine their collection day. To ensure residents always know when leaves will be collected, the City offers text and email alerts at CRNewsNow.com, as well as through the Mobile CR app at CityofCR.com/App."
This is similar to the way the city retrieves garbage, in that they say, "Residents should have their leaves raked to the parking area or grass next to the street in front of their homes by 7 a.m. on the respective Monday or Wednesday of their quadrant’s collection period."
There are contingencies built in for many purposes, including those older areas of the city with a remaining mature tree canopy. "Areas of the City with mature trees can drop many leaves around the same time. This can create large volumes of leaves for collection. If heavy volumes prevent collection as scheduled, crews will finish collecting leaves in each quadrant before moving onto the next. Fridays and Saturdays will be used as makeup days. If weather or leaf volume slows service, the Cedar Rapids Solid Waste and Recycling Division will strive to reach any missed properties by Thursday (for quadrants with collection beginning Mondays) or Saturday (for quadrants with collection beginning Wednesdays). The number of leaf trucks deployed is ramped up as the volume of leaves increases during the program."
Of course, there are potential issues with both flooding and water quality. I remember living near downtown one fall when a windstorm and rainstorm blew through clogging the downtown street drains and flooding basements all over downtown. In order to avoid this, "Leaves must be kept out of the street and away from obstacles like mailboxes, signs, poles and trees." In other words, DON'T PUT THE LEAVES IN THE STREETS!
"The vacuum truck will not collect leaves from alleys. Leaf piles should be free from brush and debris. Sticks and twigs can be placed in the YARDY compost cart for collection, which is collected year-round. Litter should be bagged and placed in the GARBY garbage can. Residents are asked not to park cars in front of leaf piles; the trucks will not be able to collect the leaves if cars are blocking piles."
If you'd like more information about the City of Cedar Rapids Solid Waste and Recycling Division’s yard waste collection program, visit CityofCR.com/Leaf or call (319) 286-5897. You can also sign up for text and email alerts about garbage and recycling at CRNewsNow.com.