This has been a problem for quite sometime, but the city is finally looking to do something about it. Here is a full description of what is being called the Green Waste Containerization Pilot Program.
It is a temporary program that is scheduled to begin in January to assess whether requiring people to put their green waste into 96 gallon containers is a good idea.
Here are the listed features of the program courtesy of the City of Davis website:
- Each parcel will receive one 96-gallon, wheeled green waste cart at no additional charge. If you find one 96-gallon cart is not enough, a 2nd one may be requested free of charge. For each additional cart over 2, there will be an additional $2.16 per month. Cart distribution is estimated to be late January or February 2008.
- Cart-only pick up between January 16 and October 14. Carts with green waste in them must be put in the gutter by 7 a.m. on collection day. January through October excess green waste cannot be put loose in the street.
- Loose in the street-only pick up from October 15 to January 15. During this heavy leaf drop season, all green waste should be placed in the street. No carts will be picked up during this 3 month period.
- All green waste pick up in the pilot area will be on Tuesday. For some, this means a change in the green waste pick up day; however, this change allows for the most efficient use of the trucks and crews needed to pick up the carts using an automated system. (NOTE: this change affects green waste collection only; your trash and recycling collection day will still be on your regular scheduled day.)
- Once a week street sweeping will continue.
- The pilot test will run for a minimum of twelve (12) months, and using carts is mandatory so the pilot can operate efficiently and bike safety is improved along the street.
Like most things in Davis, of course, there is controversy. The Natural Resources Commission met Monday Night, and by a 6-0-1 vote rejected the pilot program. There were a number of objections to it, ranging from the difficulty of placing waste in the containers, to the amount of clippings from the old growth trees in core areas of town, etc.
To be clear, the Natural Resources Commission examines this from the perspective of natural resources rather than bicycle safety.
I am not necessarily wedded to the idea that the clippings must be containerized. Although I know a number of communities who have done it for years without much complaint or problem. Frankly I think some of the objection is due to the effort involved in breaking down the branches and placing them into some sort of receptacle. Some people at the meeting on Monday suggested that this would simply discourage them from upkeep on the old growth trees in the core of town.
Some alternative ideas did emerge such as striping the bike lanes, so that instead of a single line, they are double lined and that all waste much be placed inside of the inner line. That sounds like an interesting compromise but it presents its own problems. First, a number of streets do not have street side parking, so you could not place anything inside a second line because the bike lane abuts the curb. Second, the city would have to enforce the rules in order to gain compliance. Without enforcement residents would simply allow their clippings to run into the bike lane when it was convenient. Finally, even limiting the space to the clippings inside the bike lane runs into problems because often the clippings end up taking up parking spaces and parking is rather limited especially within the core area. So bicycle safety while important is not the only factor here.
As I suggest, I am not wedded to the notion of containerizing green waste, I am however, convinced that some of the alternatives are not workable on all streets. I remain open to other solutions. I am also somewhat disappointed that the pilot program is needed, this has been a problem for a long time and it does not seem like it should be a problem. Most other communities have found other ways to dispose of their green waste without it becoming a needless bicycle hazard.
—Doug Paul Davis reporting