November is here and that means it's time to get rid of those pesky leaves – but will Oak Park find itself in the same predicament as it did last year when warm weather kept the leaves stubbornly clinging onto their branches?
That could be the case, according to Oak Park Public Works Director John Wielebnicki.
"This year, with the dry summer, we thought trees would lose their leaves really, really early," he said. "Then they just stopped falling because the weather turned nice, and we didn't get the cold like we had had and too much rain."
He said leaf removal runs through the end of November, and those that are not raked out onto the street – or don't even fall by the end of the month – will not be picked up.
The village notes in a press release that waste haulers collect nearly 2,000 tons of leaves a year in the village during the months of October and November.
Timing the leaf removal correctly is a tricky issue for the village; last year, unseasonably warm weather resulted in a lot of angry residents who raked the leaves out too late.
Those that are left in the street after November generally get snowed on and then plowed back onto the parkway, leaving a mushy mess for residents all winter. They also end up in the gutters and clog drains, which can lead to flooding, Wielebnicki said.
Wielebnicki said in a recent telephone interview that extending the leaf removal program, which is run by the village's refuse hauler Waste Management, would cost taxpayers about $25,000 a week.
"What we recommend and prefer (for those who miss the leaf removal in November) is … to not rake them into the street but leave them on your yard and mulch them in," he said. "Just run it over with a lawnmower and don't bag them."
He said leaves also can be composted.
The village has issued a schedule for when leaves will be removed from their block. Residents in all parts of the village still have at least two more chances to get their leaves removed by the village.
The village is divided into four quadrants for the purposes of leaf removal.
The dividing streets are South Boulevard and East Avenue. Leaf removal in the northwest quadrants takes place on Nov. 22 and 29; in the northeast quadrant on Nov. 16, 23 and 30; in the southwest quadrant on Nov. 21 and 28; and in the southeast quadrant on Nov. 20 and 27.
"Leaves need to be not only raked into the street, but ideally kept at least 18 inches from the curb to make sure the equipment can get them all," according to the village. "Residents also are urged to keep their leaves on the parkway until the day before their scheduled pickup, a simple courtesy that can improve day-to-day traffic flow and reduce the chances of an accident."
The village also encourages residents to not include "brush, pumpkins and all other forms of plant matter that can contaminate the leaf recycling system."
Wielebnicki said residents should rake the leaves out the night before pickup because waste haulers begin early in the morning.
Answer Book 2017
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