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New La Crosse leaf collection plan begins Monday

Kaitlyn Riley

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A new plan for picking up leaves has all hands on deck for the City of La Crosse.

Leaf Collection will begin Monday and will end Nov. 22.

Last year, because of early snow, few leaves were collected, upsetting residents. The city’s street department received more than 200 calls about leaf pickup last fall.

Mike La Fleur, superintendent of streets, said weather and limited personnel are big factors.

“It has been difficult the last probably 3-5 years,” La Fleur said. “I think more people utilized the service now than in previous years. We’ve had a step-up in road work, and over the last few years through attrition, we’ve lost positions. We are trying to fit all of that into one plate, and it is pretty difficult.”

In the past, the city used up to three leaf vacs at a time and held a longer collection period. This year, the city will do a shorter, more intensive collection process with eight leaf vacs and two sewer department trucks.

The street department will also receive help from staff in other departments like water, parks and wastewater.

La Fleur added residents could be a big help by doing voluntary alternate-side parking until Nov. 22. Alternate-side parking — where vehicles must park on the odd side of the street on odd days and even sides on even days — officially begins Nov. 15.

“Even if we get a small percentage of people doing it, it still helps us get through the city,” La Fleur said. “It is difficult now when people are parked in front of the piles. The guys have to get out, rake the piles out into the street, pass the car, and that just takes time. It is much simpler if we can just cruise by with our leaf vac and it is right there on the boulevard.”

The street department announced the following placement guidelines to assist with the collection:
— During leaf collection, place leaves on the boulevard and not into the street, gutter, or over catch basins.
— Leaves placed in the street may restrict or plug storm drains in your area. For ordinance information see the City Municipal Code related to yard waste.
— Do not pile leaves around trees, poles, or behind parked cars.
— Collection will not coincide with garbage/recycling collection schedule.
— Leaves mixed with brush or covered will not be collected.