As this fall’s program comes to an end on Friday, we really need to take a hard look at whether it is still working well for our entire city. I keep wondering what is going to happen to all those forgotten piles of leaves that are all over my neighborhood on the South Side of Waltham.
As you may know, the leaf-vacuuming program has been in place for many years. But within the last few years, it was decided that each section of the city is only vacuumed ONCE during a designed week -following a schedule set by the Consolidated Public Works department.
The South Side of Waltham’s week was Nov 4th - Nov 8th. If you’ve lived in Massachusetts for even a few years, you know that in the first week of November, most of the leaves are still on the trees. Not on the ground!
Wouldn’t it make more sense to wait a week or two to start vacuuming? And if the five trucks that we have assigned to this program are not enough to cover a city of 60,000 residents then maybe it’s time to invest in more equipment?
Let me just say that this is a great service and one that not too many cities provide. But if we’re going to pay for it with our taxes, let’s make sure that the service is the best it can be.
Another way we can get vacuuming done right is by communicating better with the homeowners. I know that social media announcements are a little too much to ask for now, so why don’t we keep it old school and very simple by just putting up posters on light poles. This is done to inform residents of street-sweeping days and is very effective.
So, going back to my original question: What is going to happen to all those leftover piles of leaves you see all over the South Side? I really don’t know but I hope something happens very soon or they could become public hazards.
If we don’t get rid of these leaves they can become a fire hazard if a car with a hot catalytic converter parks on top of it.
And as the winter descends upon us, the piles may clog up our rain gutters. If we have another powerful winter like last year, I can only imagine the piles of snow on top of piles of leaves. That makes removal more difficult and icy, hazardous puddles on our roads more likely.
As a city, Waltham needs to better plan and be ahead on issues that affect our residents’ daily lives. We all live in different areas of the city and our municipal employees and our elected officials need to see the difference.