Sunday Commentary: Davis Remains Behind the Times on Green Waste

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photo credit: Steve Tracy, Davis Bicycles!
photo credit: Steve Tracy, Davis Bicycles!

Every time my parents come up to visit the grandchildren, they are constantly baffled by the resistance that Davis has had to green waste containerization – that the public is content to dump waste in the streets and bike paths rather than put it into containers.

This week the city once again delayed action on a proposal that would call for some form of containerization.  City staff laid out five options and recommended Option 1, which would call for carts only, no loose street pickup.  They argued this was most cost effective because it would require that DWR only have one set of crews and equipment.

As the Vanguard noted this week, council agrees that going to a form of containerization is the way to go, and they seem to favoring an option that allows for either seasonal street pickup or on-call pickup of tree material.

The reasons for containerization have frankly been obvious for years – bike safety, improvements in storm water quality,  less street debris, and the ability to add compostable materials to yard waste.

They did express concerns about the transition to green waste containerization.

However, that is the city council.  The comments from the public remain in opposition.  On the Vanguard, citizens expressed the concern that they do not have room in their yard to store another large container.

I took this photo last year when the issue came up.  This is my parents’ house where you can see the extra trash bin neatly fits.

green-waste-container

Others have actually threatened to cut down their trees.

Reading Bob Dunning this morning, “Despite our City Council’s determination to have us put our so-called ‘yard waste’ into large plastic containers instead of piling it in the street, a number of folks aren’t convinced this is the right way to go.”

He adds, “Leaves and grass clippings will certainly fit comfortably into a can and pack down much like garbage, but branches and other sorts of yard waste simply won’t fit very well.”

This is simply a mindboggling argument.  There are communities that have had green waste containerization for decades.  My parents have had it for more than 25 years.  Do people believe that Davis is somehow unique with regard to the problem of trees?  Like there are not trees in any other community with containerization?

Before the last drought, my parents’ yard was full of trees.  Somehow they managed.

But the citizens of Davis have always resisted the idea that they should put their waste in a container.  Instead, they allow their waste to be dumped in bicycle lanes and be subject to wind storms like the ones last fall that blew leaves all over the street out of their neat piles.

When the issue came up in 2007, bicycle advocates complained about the dangers of dumping waste in the bike lanes, so the city compromised by double-striping the bike paths with the hope that the trimmings would be confined outside of the paths on arterial roadways.

The bicycle safety issue is considerable.  Waste forces bicyclists to veer into the street which creates a risk for the bicyclist and a hazard for cars, especially for those bicyclists who veer without fully looking around them.

However, safety is not the only issue.  The waste causes problems for storm drains and water runoff.

An April 2007 staff report noted, “The Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) staff, in review of the City’s Storm Water Management Plan submitted March 2003, had found the current green waste management program to be inadequate. RWQCB staff contends that loose green waste in the street degrades storm water quality and emphasizes that green waste containerization or its equivalent is needed.”

 “The current collection method of collecting green waste loose in the street poses safety concerns for bicycle riders,” staff reported in 2007. “The conflict between piles of green waste and bicyclists has been recognized over the years and appears in the City of Davis Bicycle Plan as an issue needing improvement.”

The city offers additional rationale for the move, arguing that by switching to containerization, “the city may be able to reduce operating costs by reducing the frequency of street sweeping service.”

The city of Davis, of course, has weekly street sweeping following yard material collection.  However, staff notes, the city of San Jose only performs their street sweeping monthly.

All of that being said, it seems that a reasonable compromise could be for the city to pursue Option 2 or Option 3.

Option 2 allows, “During leaf-drop season, customers may place yard materials only (no food scraps or other organics) loose-in-the-street for pick-up by DWR during a two month period from October 15 through December 15, annually. This allows customers to easily dispose of fallen leaves and other yard debris during the time of year when it is most needed.”

This is what the city of Sacramento does.  They prohibit waste in the street, “except during leaf season.”  During that time they allow for “leaves, grass trimmings, prunings, sod, and Christmas trees.”

They note, “Citywide collection of yard waste piles will occur only in November, December and January. Please fill your yard waste container first before placing extra material out in a pile in front of your residence.”

The city staff report notes that this is a more costly alternative “as DWR would need to keep two sets of equipment in repair for running two different collection systems. Switching from cart collection to loose-in-the-street and back also causes customer confusion. Other cities that have opted for this method have had to increase staffing to monitor yard material pile placement and cite customers that leave piles out in the street during the wrong time of the year.”

The other downside of this is that we would create seasonal hazards for bicyclists, and the unsightliness of leaf piles blowing in the wind would not eliminated.

The other alternative would be Option 3 which would be, “Customers can request one free special pick-up of yard materials per year. Additional pick-ups would be charged a fee. Pick-ups would have to be scheduled in advance.”

Again, this appears to be a costly alternative with two separate collections systems, equipment and crews.

The strange thing about all of this discussion is that we are not reinventing the wheel here.  This should not be this complicated.

And yet here we have this platinum bicycle community that strives to get diamond status and we dump hazards into bike lanes.  It is time for the city council to put a stop to this madness and come up with a solution – any option will do.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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104 thoughts on “Sunday Commentary: Davis Remains Behind the Times on Green Waste”

  1. Don Shor

    Do people believe that Davis is somehow unique with regards to the problem of trees?

    Yes, Valley communities have more trees, larger trees, and different kinds of trees than coastal communities. Cities with higher temperatures have a great deal more biomass to dispose of. And a lot of that biomass is woody and does not readily fit into yard waste containers.

        1. Matt Williams

          I would imagine that that solution would be a whole lot more expensive than my current $4.00 a pile charge for an on-call pickup. As a wild-ass guess, I would expect the cost of a half dozen biodegradable leaf bags would be somewhere north of $15.00. Does anyone have a sense of what biodegradable bags of that size actually cost?

          1. Mr. Toad

            The DWR guy said at the meeting it would likely cost more in other areas and that El Macero was cheaper for on call pick because of its proximity to where DWR keeps its equipment.

          2. Matt Williams

            Toad, is the City not in proximity to where DWR keeps its equipment?

            I don’t see any cost differential between serving Davis and serving El Macero. If anything, since El Macero is on the edge of the City the costs should be higher because the travel miles are longer than the travel miles to a City neighborhood.

          3. Mr. Toad

            I’m just reminding you what he said. If you want to dispute the numbers they come up with show up at the meeting even if it means missing the Eagles concert at Arco.

          4. B. Nice

            I’d prefer option 3. But if 2.5 is adopted I’d rather have leaves contained in a bag, then loose blowing around the street.

        1. Matt Williams

          Don, I pulled my DWR bills from the past 12 months, and my on-demand green pile pick-ups took place on:

          ••» April 8, 2013 (spring pruning of various shrubs including two large Pittosporums)
          ••» April 15, 2013 (Pence Garden Tour preparation)
          ••» April 29, 2013 (Pence Garden Tour final preparation)
          ••» May 13, 2013 (2 piles of heavy oleander pruning after the Pence Garden Tour)
          ••» May 20, 2013 (more oleander pruning)
          ••» June 17, 2013 (Xylosma tree limb pruning)
          ••» August 12, 2013
          ••» November 18, 2013 (extensive rosemary bed pruning)

          The above information shows that Option 2 with its restriction to a “season” would be problematic for anyone who has a garden like ours that grows like gardens grow in California. I consider the incremental “on-call” pile pick-up charges to be my personal fiscal responsibility for the discretionary decision my wife and I have made to have the garden we have.

          It is important to note that we consider the incremental water charges that such a garden necessitates to be our personal fiscal responsibility for the discretionary decision we made to have the garden we have.

          1. Matt Williams

            Especially when those discretionary decisions actually increase the market value of the home.

            The water debate brought out a lot of modified Boston Tea Party sentiment that I found peculiar. Instead of “No Taxation without Representation” the Davis mantra by some was “No increased home value without free maintenance.”

      1. Don Shor

        Davis is not paralyzed by it. Most people in Davis are probably happy with the current method. Bike activists and the NRC are not happy with it. My guess is that the public will largely see this, once again, as a solution in search of a problem.

        1. Matt Williams

          Don, I don’t disagree with your final sentence; however, that still doesn’t answer the nagging question of “Why has every city in California except three (of which Davis is one of the three) converted to containerized green waste? It seems like we are swimming against the tide.

        2. darelldd

          Let me correct you on one item here. This is not a situation of “bike activists” vs. the general population. Some of the people who are not happy with crap piled in the bike lanes are those who regularly use a bicycle for transportation. And that includes a large number of our most vulnerable road users: Our children riding to school every day. Few of them are activists, and few have any voice here. Most of them are negatively effected by this practice.

          I fully understand that there are many non-cyclists who don’t see the dangers posed by these piles of waste. But that doesn’t make the danger any less real. And it doesn’t take an “activist” to see or be harmed by the danger that our current practice presents.

          If we’d like to do a pilot program of pushing the piles into the traffic lanes for a few months, I’d be supportive of that effort.

          1. Don Shor

            So basically nothing has changed in that regard. People should not put lawn clippings in the street. They should either mow them back into the lawn and let them decompose there, pile them up elsewhere in the yard to break down into the soil, or put them out in the yard waste containers.

        3. B. Nice

          At this point it may not be what people in Davis are happy with. Herb implied at the council meeting that Davis Storm Water permit would not be renewed if we continued with a loose-in-the-street collection method.

          And the adopted 2013 Integrated Waste Management plans say a food scrap collection will be mandatory in order for the city to reach it’s state mandated waste reduction goals.

          If year round green waste containerized pick-up is not implemented then the city will have to implement a separate food waste collection program. It makes no fiscal sense not to combine these programs.

  2. B. Nice

    I’ll be curious to see the cost differences between the options. I’d prefer we didn’t have seasonal loose-in-the-street pick-up, and just went with option 3, but if Option 2.5 (seasonal loose-in-the-street with 4 free scheduled pickups gets) us moving in the containerized direction, that option would have my support. (As long as year round food scrap collection is available with this option).

  3. darelldd

    Thanks for the article, David. We’ve had many of these lately, of course – you hit on most of the relevant topics.

    When I first was house-shopping in Davis 17 years ago, one of the first questions I asked my real-estate agent as we drove around was, “Why does everybody throw their trash in the street?” As we walked past piles of ugly, stinking, fermenting grass clippings, it was explained to me that this is how Davis has “always picked up yard waste. It was the first and one of the *only* things that left a negative impression on me after those initial visits.

    (Does anybody know when our current method of street-pickup began in Davis? And what did we do BEFORE that blessed day?)

    I’ve lived in CA all my life, in a few different locations. This was the first time I’d ever seen yard waste piled in the street for pickup. Some places where I’ve lived, there was NO green-waste pickup by the city. (Wow. How does THAT work??) If a home-owner had a large yard-work project, he would chip it on-site (my typical option when I was younger), haul it away himself, or pay somebody to do it (my typical option now that I’m creaky). The homeowner didn’t expect everybody in the city (especially those with small, or very low-maintenance yards) to pay for his occasional need of hauling services. Nor did he dump it into the street to make it a hazard for road users. In the last place I lived before moving to Davis, we had recently switched from *no* pickup of any kind, to green containers. And they were FANTASTIC! The cans were durable, and designed to dehydrate the greenery while sitting in the can during the days before pickup (I’ve noticed a lack of details or discussions about what our cans would be like – I fear they’ll just be green trash cans which my experience shows to be a mistake). And yes, I still had a few days a year when my yard waste would not all fit in the can. And just like today in Davis when my big trees need trimming, or my roof needs fixing, or my automobile needs repairing and I can’t do it myself… I generally hire somebody else to do it for me. Welcome to home-ownership. Make no mistake – I found green containers to be far more convenient than piling the stuff in the street as I do today.

    Yes, there are hundreds of CA cities that have figured this out (and they don’t have nearly as many Phd-holders as we do!) And yes some of them have *gasp* the same amount (or more!) biomass to dispose of than we do! I’m confident that the citizens and city leaders of Davis can figure out how to manage this scary, necessary change. Note please that I’m not saying we should do it because everybody else is doing it – I’m saying we surely *can* figure out how to do it since everybody else has figured it out. WHY we need to do it, is I hope, too obvious to waste time repeating. (But I’m happy to explain if begged! Certainly Mr. Dunning could use a bit of learning on the subject.)

  4. Don Shor

    Who originated the proposal for containerization? Who is pushing for it? In response to what perceived need? Is this a staff response to a state mandate? Did it originate with one or more of our commissions?

    1. darelldd

      As well, I’d like to know when the current street pickup originated. And if it started just as we have it now – with three trucks driving around weekly to each residence.

      Only thing that I can (barely) add is that I first heard about a containerization proposal soon after we moved here. Probably 15 years ago. I was thrilled! Then quickly dismayed at the ignorance and resistance time and time again.

      1. Don Shor

        Always good to know that when we disagree with you, it’s because we’re either ignorant or fearful. That’s the kind of rhetoric that doesn’t make for a productive conversation.

        1. darelldd

          Yet you seem to be OK with using sarcasm to move the conversation forward?

          Your leaps of logic (and sarcastic comments) are noted. I am using the word ignorance here as “lack of knowledge or experience.” Not as “dumb” as you seem to have inferred. Ignorance is something we all have. Generally we are ignorant on more subjects than those on which we are knowledgeable. If there are people in town who have never experienced the use of a yard waste container, those people are ignorant in that regard. The same way that non-cyclists are ignorant of the dangers posed by piles of yard waste in the street. It dismays me when decisions are based on inexperience (the word that maybe I should have used) and ignorance.

          And since you (seemingly putting words in my mouth) brought up “fearful” – I am quite interested: Just what is it that you fear in regard to containerization? I can only think of two worries: Reduced convenience and increased cost. But I easily admit my ignorance (see what I did there?) on this subject – I truly am not sure what the fear is. Are there other possibilities that I am not considering? What happens if containerization turns out to be both more convenient and cheaper?

          I try hard to be productive in my comments. I agree that I sometimes fail and give into my dark desire to be annoying … but I do honestly try.

          Cheers.

    2. SouthofDavis

      Don wrote:

      > Who originated the proposal for containerization?

      Everyone I know would like to get rid of the piles in the street all over town (that people tend to “top off” with the soon to be illegal trash bags of dog poop).

      I’m wondering why Don even cares since he does not live in Davis and won’t have to make any change as to what he does with his yard waste…

      1. Don Shor

        I own property here and dispose of vegetative waste from that property, just as you do. I’m not sure why you always seek to personalize these issues with regard to where I live or don’t live. It seems to be an ongoing obsession of yours, regardless of the topic.
        I’ve also been a landscape contractor and done seasonal maintenance, so I have sympathy for those who make their livings that way, as well as my many customers who do their own yard work and generate yard debris. I hope to help them learn to reduce their output of organic matter going off site, but I don’t believe they’ll eliminate it.

        “Everyone I know would like to get rid of the piles in the street…”

        and yet, 95% of people were happy with the current system, and 2/3 don’t want to change it. So evidently “everyone you know” comes from a narrow range of the Davis population.
        More to the point, that doesn’t answer the question as to who initiated this and why. My guess is this is staff-driven.

        1. Matt Williams

          Don Shor said …

          “More to the point, that doesn’t answer the question as to who initiated this and why. My guess is this is staff-driven.”

          Don, I had no idea who initiated the discussions, so as I am wont to do, I conducted some research. Here is what I discovered.

          1) the Bicycle Advisory Commission has been concerned about this issue, and waving flags about it for years, but the Gang of Three Councils did not “hear” the BAC’s entreaties.

          2) The Sierra Club has been concerned with urban water runoff issues for quite a while, and in the 2012 Candidates Forum they hosted, one of the questions asked of the candidates had to do with A) urban water runoff, B) the impending stricter State of California regulations regarding Stormwater Discharge Permits, and C) the momentum that was building in the community supporting the creation of the City’s first Integrated Waste Management Plan (IWMP). All three of the candidates who were elected to Council articulated positions of support for the Sierra Clubs’ concerns about all three of those components, and when the new Council sat in office that meant four immediate votes in support of proceeding with the IWMP. as well as a newly invigorated bicycle community that saw that it had receptive ears.

          3) Interestingly enough, Staff, in the person of Jacques DeBra, vigorously opposed the idea of the IWMP, and worked diligently to place obstacles in its way. It was a textbook “let the perfect be the enemy of the good” gameplan that regularly put Jacques at odds with several Commissions, members of the Council, and even (reputedly) other members of Staff.

          So, there really wasn’t any specific point of initiation, but rather the confluence of a number of factors and the collaboration of several disparate groups in moving the IWMP forward.

        2. darelldd

          > “and yet, 95% of people were happy with the current system”

          Unless we know what was asked and how it was asked, we have no idea what this means, do we? In general, people tend to defend the status quo at all costs. No surprise here at all.

          More importantly, is “happiness” what we base our policies on? I’d be a lot happier if cyclists didn’t have to stop at stop signs. I’d probably be happier if somebody else paid by water bill and cleaned up after my dog. I’d be happier if I could legally talk on my cell phone without having to fumble for my “handsfree” headset. But it turns out that we put policies in place for reasons other than my happiness. Indeed sometimes we make policies based on health and safety at the expense of some convenience… and happiness.

  5. Don Shor

    It would be best if people would compost leaves and lawn clippings in place. But we have large trees and many neighborhoods with small lots where people don’t feel they can do that.

    –> An educational program about mulching, composting, and simply mowing leaves into the lawn would be a good action item

    Because of the seasonal leaf drop, many people would get overwhelmed and the green waste containers would be insufficient in November and December.

    –> Retain leaf pickup of street piles during leaf drop season.

    Many people do seasonal yard cleanups in spring and summer, creating woody debris that doesn’t readily fit into green waste containers. Some of those people don’t have much income.

    –> Allow one or two on-call pickups during the remainder of the year, to be scheduled to minimize street piles. Further street pickups to be charged.

    Most smaller yard debris, as well as kitchen scraps, can go into yard waste containers.

    –> Provide yard waste containers, allowing homeowners to opt out of them if they choose.

  6. Frankly

    The bicycle safety issue is considerable.

    No it is not. It is overblown.

    How is green waste more of a hazard than the cars parked on that same street?

    How is green waste on the street more of a hazard than green waste cans?

    It is not… at least not enough to justify the argument.

    And for the small number of streets that are too narrow or disallow street parking, maybe those residents should require green waste containers… or otherwise have to comply with an ordinance that limits the size of the pile and the time they can reside on the street.

    Ironically, the picture above of someone’s home with the three containers clearly shows another big problem… the lack of room to store a container. Note how that massive container blocks their door. And it is a very ugly display.

    I do not generate green waste but a few times per year.

    Why would I want to take up precious yard space and place another large ugly and infrequently used container where I have been working hard to keep my yard attractive?

    No containerized green waste!

    If we end up with this anyway because the do-gooders just cannot help themselves from harassing the council into another stupid decision, then we better have optional street-side pickup.

    1. Matt Williams

      Frankly said . . .

      “No it is not. It is overblown. How is green waste more of a hazard than the cars parked on that same street?”

      Two reasons … and I don’t bicycle, so this is a dispassionate observation. 1) Cars are infinitely more visible, even in the dark than low lying green waste piles. 2) Cars won’t be parking in bicycle lanes. Green piles have no problem accumulating in bicycle lanes. In situations where there is no bicycle lane, then see 1)

      Frankly said . . .

      “How is green waste on the street more of a hazard than green waste cans? It is not… at least not enough to justify the argument.”

      That is an easy one for me to answer. 1) On average, green cans spend less than 8 hours on the street in any week period. Our green can typically goes out by 7:00 AM and comes in by 9:00 AM because the DWR truck arrives like clock work at 7:55 am. Sometimes we put our green can out the night before, which makes our time interval 12 hours. 2) Whenever it goes out, the green can is part of a “gang” that already makes weekly trips to the curb. Initiating a green can into your personal “street gang” will increase the cubic volume of the existing obstruction, but it won’t create an incremental “new” obstruction. 3) All you have to do is drive around Davis and you will see that green piles litter the streets of Davis 24×7, and because (to the best of my knowledge, and I could be wrong, so correct me if I am) there is no restriction on when a pile can go out relative to the actual pick-up day, many green piles begin to accumulate later the same day of their pick-up day and stay out in the street for a full seven days until the next pickup. 4) I’m sure you have seen some of the elaborate “twig pile structures” that some Davis homeowners place in the space out front of their house in order to prevent anyone from parking in front of their house. I always shake my head when I see one of those “twig pile structures.” I can hear the homeowner saying, “This is MY street. You can’t use it!!!”

      1. Edgar Wai

        I think you can also consider the time after pickup but before street sweeping be hazardous. The hazard includes tire puncture and bike trying to steer around it when cars don’t wxpect them to.

        1. Matt Williams

          Point well taken Edgar.

          BTW, I just sent you an e-mail about an enhancement to the generic CBFR model that I’d like to review with you if you are willing.

      2. darelldd

        Matt –

        Green piles are not to be placed in the street sooner than the evening before the weekly scheduled pickup. Clearly, this policy is not universally known, not adhered to and not enforced.

        Great answers by the way. You’re a faster typist than I!

        1. Matt Williams

          Thanks for that update Darell. It isn’t a surprise. The Libertarian streak that runs prominently through Davis makes that behavior pattern easy to believe. “Regulations, to god-damned hell with Regulations! We have no Regulations. In fact, we don’t need Regulations. I don’t have to abide by any stinking Regulations !!!” Gold Hat would be proud to live in Davis.

          I was only quicker because my answers were less complete than yours were.

    2. Matt Williams

      Frankly said . . .

      “Why would I want to take up precious yard space and place another large ugly and infrequently used container where I have been working hard to keep my yard attractive?”

      Frankly, I call bs. Do your grey trash can and your blue containers/paper recyclables can sit in your yard now? They are much uglier than the green can. Green blends in much better than grey and blue do. However, if you are like me, you have a fenced off side yard where your grey trash can and your blue containers/paper recyclables can currently reside very nicely out of the sight lines of anyone who is a visitor to the verdant portions of your yard.

      1. Frankly

        Matt, I call you calling my “BS”

        The other side of my narrow and deep lot is the typical Davis 5ft setback with an air conditioner compressor that sticks out 3ft and leaves no room for a container between it and the gate.

        So, again, where do you suggest I put this new large container?

        How about right in the middle of my patio?

        Or how about on my back yard grass?

        Or, how about on my front driveway?

        1. darelldd

          If figuring out where to put an “ugly” green cart in your back yard is the biggest hurdle here, then we’re in pretty good shape. Maybe try painting those coolers green to test out various positions. 🙂

          I wonder: Did we have this same outcry when we started using recycle carts? I don’t recall since I was so thrilled to get mine. I finally had a place to “store” my recyclables before pickup. Then I could just wheel it out front instead of hand-carrying those open bins. The green cart offers the same advantage. And like the recycle cart (and my BBQ, and my bikes, and my cars, and my dog, and my coolers) it needs to have a home.

          1. Frankly

            The coolers are from a party destined for the garage when they dry.

            And speak for yourself about the ugly HUGE green plastic bin. That might meet your standards for your yard, but not mine. I’m already unhappy with the other two.

          2. darelldd

            If I’m understanding you correctly:

            Fermenting yard waste piles of all sizes dumped in the street is less ugly than a “huge” green plastic cart in your yard.

            Aesthetics of your back yard trumps the safety of Davis road users. Including school children riding to school.

            If you’re unhappy with how your garbage and recycle bins look, I support your option to dump both your garbage and recyclables directly into the street in front of your house.

          3. Frankly

            Matt – nope. as it stands my landscape dude is already complaining about the cans being in the way so he cannot get his mower to the back yard. I used to be able to keep them on the other side of the house but we had an undersized air conditioner and the new one does not allow enough space to squeeze the cans by like we used to. He has one smaller mower that he reluctantly uses.

            If I am forced to have to store one of those large green waste containers, I really don’t know where I would keep it… I would probably have to modify my fence and gate to store it in the front-side of my house and I don’t think the CC&R would allow it. Otherwise I would have to get rid of the compost bin… which then gets my wife mad at the city… and trust me, we don’t want that.

            I know I am not alone with this problem. There are a lot of narrow and deep lots in my neighborhood.

          4. Matt Williams

            I think you have to have a discussion with your lawn guy. The problem is his mower, not your cans. 8>)

            Actually, the green can wouldn’t make things any worse than they are already. You simply aren’t compatible with any cans.

          5. Frankly

            Fermenting yard waste piles of all sizes dumped in the street is less ugly than a “huge” green plastic cart in your yard.

            Colorful language! My piles do not ferment. When I do have piles, I make them neat and compact. I have too because otherwise my kids don’t have a place to park.

            Aesthetics of your back yard trumps the safety of Davis road users. Including school children riding to school.

            Again, if a car is parked there instead of a pile, what is the difference to school children riding a bike. This complaint make no sense.

            If you’re unhappy with how your garbage and recycle bins look, I support your option to dump both your garbage and recyclables directly into the street in front of your house.

            There you go again being colorful. Last I checked green waste was natural. It was here before you and I and the street. That is certainly not the case for the rest of our rubbish. I absolutely do not have a problem seeing piles of green waste and leaves in the street waiting to be hauled away. It is a comforting thing… unlike all those stupid big plastic bins. Talk about an eyesore!

          6. darelldd

            >> My piles do not ferment. When I do have piles, I make them neat and compact.

            Fermentation happens no matter how neat and a tidy the pile. How long it is out there and the ambient temperature are the big factors. Sadly, the attentive way you keep your piles is not universal. We’re dealing with the whole city here. In the warm summer months during yard-mowing season the stench in my neighborhood can be literally gaggingly bad. Clearly if everyone were as conscientious as you are, the need for containerization would be lower. It would still be there… but lower.

            > Again, if a car is parked there instead of a pile, what is the difference to school children riding a bike. This complaint make no sense.

            Did you miss where I addressed this already, or was my explanation nonsensical? At least three of us addressed this before. It turns out that this “complaint” only makes sense to those who experience it first hand. Those who ride regularly. Here is answer to this same question again with a few improvements to make it more colorful:

            >>> How is green waste more of a hazard than the cars parked on that same street?

            First I will summarize right up front, then fill in the details below:
            Cars are obvious, tall enough to be in easy view, a consistent size and shape, shiny and reflective, consistently parked at the curb and rarely in the bike lanes. Green piles are NONE of those things, making them hard to see, hard to predict, hard to avoid and directly in cyclists’ path of travel.

            The visual part of the hazard is typically at night: Cars are big, at eye-level, and are full of reflective material. Green piles are usually low (sometimes just a few inches high, in fact) and non-reflective. Cars conform to a predictable size and shape, while piles of yard waste do not. It is simple as this: parked cars are easy to see, green waste piles are not – *especially at night.* As an example for non-cyclists: People inadvertently drive their cars over and through yard waste piles regularly. Rarely, do they drive into parked cars. The problem isn’t only visual, however. Cars are rarely parked in the bike lane, while green piles are REGULARLY put into, or at least spill into the bike lane. So even if the piles can be easily seen, the hazard in this case (day OR night) is having to swerve into the traffic lane to avoid the pile. Something we don’t have to do as often for parked cars. Additionally, if I run over a car with my bike (does that sound a bit silly?) it is not a slippery situation. If I roll through a pile of wet, slimy leaves, I suddenly have no traction. It isn’t that I have lots of love for parked cars, but they’re MUCH easier to avoid than green piles.

            A final compelling point is that car drivers also see parked cars easily. If a cyclist has to swing out of the way of a parked car, the other road users understand this and can predict the behaviour. If nobody sees the pile until the cyclist swerves into the traffic lane at the last moment to avoid it, everybody is surprised, and it puts everybody in a more dangerous situation.

            My daughter rides her bike to school every day, and must use some streets to get there. The piles that are routinely dumped into the bike lane, force her out into car traffic. In the three years that she has ridden her current commute, neither one of us has ever seen a car parked in the bike lane that would force her into the traffic lane. Parked cars can cause other problems, but they are nowhere near the hazard of the waste piles (probably not your piles, but the piles elsewhere in town).

            > There you go again being colorful.

            Thank you! I do my best. And there’s no extra charge for my premium writing.

            > Last I checked green waste was natural. It was here before you and I and the street.

            Nooo. Green waste does not exist in the natural world. The green that existed before you and I were here took care of itself and never needed to be stacked or collected. Just as pruned trees and manicured lawns don’t exist in nature, neither do piles of yard waste in the street. Note that we in Davis put tons of food scraps in our landfill garbage currently. That’s as “natural” as the yard waste. But from your comments on my colorful language, it sounds like you still would’t want to see that dumped on the street. No, it isn’t “natural” to dump anything on the pavement, even if it is organic.

            > unlike all those stupid big plastic bins. Talk about an eyesore!

            Really? Is the addition of a green bin an eyesore as compared to the other two we already set out there? I don’t find any of the bins pretty either. But it’s what we do to avoid having to haul our own garbage and recyclables. Now it is going to happen with green waste as well. If you wish not to see or store the bin, there is going to be no law against hauling away your own yard waste. I understand that you don’t want to see the ugly bins. Do you understand that (among other even more important concerns I have) that I don’t want to see the ugly piles even if they are not ugly to you?

        2. Matt Williams

          Thank you for posting the pictures Frankly. Your space is indeed constrained, but I’d be interested to see whether the distance from the grey can edge to the edge of the concrete next to the trellis mounted on the wall is equal to or greater than the width of the grey can. It looks like it is from the picture. That would mean that the left side of the rosemary (at least it looks like a rosemary) would nestle up against the side of the green can (or whichever can ends up being the right most.

          You can call me on my BS any time. My wife regularly does.

      2. SouthofDavis

        Matt needs to remember that a “typical” Davis lot is only about 6,000sf with about 25% covered by the house compared to a “typical” El Macero lot of about 18,000sf with only about 156% covered by the house. When you have a “back yard” that is TWICE the size of two (2) typical Davis home lots it is a lot easier to store an extra bin (that could also go in the 3rd or 4th garage if you don’t have a golf cart)…

        1. Matt Williams

          SoD, lets drill down into your point a bit. If your the typical Davis 6,000 square foot lot is 25% covered by the house, then the typical Davis house size is 1,500 square feet. Of course it will vary but that 1,500 square feet will vary between 20 foot by 75 foot dimensions and 30 foot by 50 foot dimensions, with in all cases the long value being the front (or back) length and the short value being the side length. Given zoning regulations that makes each side yard equal to a 5 foot wide area that is between 20 and 30 feet long (each side yard is therefore between 100 and 150 square feet). That makes the combined side yard size equal to between 200 and 300 square feet, and the combined house and side yard coverage equal to between 1,700 and 1,800 square feet … leaving between 4,200 and 4,300 square feet for the combined front yard and side yard.

          Now let’s look at El Macero with your stated typical 18,000 square foot lot, with 15% covered by the house, then the typical El Macero house size is 2,700 square feet. Of course it will vary but that 2,700 square feet is typically 27 foot by 100 foot dimensions, with the long value being the front (or back) length and the short value being the side length. Given County R-1 zoning regulations that makes each side yard equal to a 5 foot wide area that is 27 feet long (135 square feet). That makes the combined house and side yard coverage equal to approximately 2,835 square feet … leaving between 15,165 square feet for the combined front yard and side yard. Under the regulations of the El Macero CC&Rs no El Macero resident is allowed to put their cans in any place other than the side yard.

          So, the overall size of the lot has virtually no relationship to the amount of space that is available in the side yard to accommodate the DWR cans.

          BTW, the above analysis gives a pretty good indication of why El Macero lots use much more water for the purposes of irrigation … 12 months of the year.

        2. darelldd

          I live on that typical Davis lot to within a hundred square feet of your claims. And I can’t wait to get my green bin. (To be fully honest here, I already own an extra official DWR 95-gallon garbage cart that I use exclusively to store and haul yard waste, so I know exactly how to store and use a bin similar to what we’ll all start enjoying soon. There is no scary mystery to me as to how this is going to go. I had a yard waste bin at my last house, and I purchased one to use here when I moved to Davis).

          The home in which I lived before moving to Davis was on a smaller lot with a smaller house. Same relative percentage of coverage. And I had (much!) larger trees with more biomass production than I have here in Davis. And somehow we managed with green waste containerization. Until arriving here in Davis, I didn’t realize how hard we had it….

          Some folks with lots the size of mine own a boat. Or they own an RV. And they park it on their lot. It is amazing what people can do when the need or desire strikes them.

    3. darelldd

      >> The bicycle safety issue is considerable.

      > No it is not. It is overblown.

      Indeed I have heard this same sentiment from many non-cyclists.

      The way you pose your questions leads me to believe that you already know the answers. But in the hope I am wrong, I will fill in some of the blanks for you. If you do not believe my answers, all it takes is a few days using your bike as your main transportation in town. It will then become clear.

      >How is green waste more of a hazard than the cars parked on that same street?

      The visual problem is typically at night: Cars are big, at eye-level, and are full of reflective material. Green piles are often low and non-reflective. It is simple as this: parked cars can easily be seen. Green waste piles cannot, *especially at night.* As an example for non-cyclists: People inadvertently drive their cars over and through yard waste piles regularly. Rarely, do they drive into parked cars. The problem isn’t only visual, however. Cars are rarely parked in the bike lane, while waste piles are REGULARLY put in the bike lane. So even though the piles can be seen, the hazard there (day OR night) is having to swerve into the traffic lane to avoid the pile. Something we don’t have to do as often for parked cars.

      > How is green waste on the street more of a hazard than green waste cans?

      The can is taller (in a cyclists’s vision) and contained in an obvious area. The can is put out with the rest of the cans, and hopefully only on pickup day. The piles of waste tend to be in the street much longer, can be low, wide and dark. All but invisible at night, especially when wet. Yard waste has small sticks that can poke out of the more obvious bulk of the pile. These sticks ARE invisible at night no matter how good your headlight is. And those invisible sticks have brought more cyclists to the pavement than any waste cart has.

      > It is not… at least not enough to justify the argument.

      It is. And you’ll probably find that those who don’t see the safety concerns are those who do not regularly ride a bike for transportation in this town. I invite you to experience the issue firsthand. Your view of things may be different if those piles were pushed out of the bike lanes and into the traffic lanes.

      > And for the small number of streets that are too narrow or disallow street parking, maybe those residents should require green waste containers… or otherwise have to comply with an ordinance that limits the size of the pile and the time they can reside on the street.

      Interestingly enough, it is the narrow streets that don’t pose much problem – since there are generally fewer and slower-moving cars. Cyclists will naturally and more safely ride in the traffic lane where the yard piles are not a danger. It is the wide, fast streets with yard waste in the bike lanes that pose the bigger problem.

      > Ironically, the picture above of someone’s home with the three containers clearly shows another big problem… the lack of room to store a container. Note how that massive container blocks their door. And it is a very ugly display.

      You mentioned “ugly” several times in reference to the green cans. Can you seriously say that piles of rotting “garbage” in the street all over town is more attractive than a can in a back yard?

      > I do not generate green waste but a few times per year.

      I haven’t counted, but I guess I set out green waste about 8-10x per year. Yet 52x per year, we have THREE noisy, polluting trucks driven down the street in search of those piles (and then the sweeping). I’d far rather have one container truck prowling the neighborhoods on a regular basis.

      Green waste being piled in the streets is to me one of the ugliest things about our town. I can’t figure out how green cans (sitting next to ugly garbage cans) are more of an eyesore than piles of waste in the street. It would be interesting to see if by eliminating garbage containerization if we could beautify the town further.

    4. growth issue

      LOL Frankly, I too felt that David used the wrong picture to show how easy it was to store the extra container. I guess if you’re willing to give up a door it’s not a problem.

      1. Matt Williams

        G.I., how large is your side yard? My three cans fit in a 2 foot by 8 foot area that is immediately adjacent to the 3 foot by 8 foot concrete walkway. Both of those 8 foot strips end by abutting a 5 foot by 4 foot concrete extension of the walkway in front of our garage door. So, including door space all you need is a 5 foot by 12 foot area (60 square feet). I can’t imagine that there are very many houses that do not have that kind of area along one side of the house or the other (probably both).

        The minimum Residential side yard setback in the Zoning Code for the County is 5 feet. I don’t know what it is in the Residential portion of the City zoning code.

    5. donna lemngello

      Frankly, Matt addressed your position quite well but I will emphasize, and I, unlike Matt, ride everywhere. One can not see leaf and even more dangerous, stick and wood piles in the dark. One can see parked cars and large containers in the dark. The argument of how much less time they will spend out is also a good one I had not even thought of. Just last night before I realized what was happening I was riding in a leaf pile and once I realized I was in one just hoped it would not contain something that would throw me off my bike. Yes I have a front and rear light. Piles are too low and too dark to see. I don’t have a lot of space for another bin but I’ll find somewhere. Also, for people who do not compost their own food scraps, this will be a way to keep them out of the landfill. Of course one has to care enough to throw them in. Yes, containers that “breathe” will be superior to those that would not, so things can dry out in there.

    6. B. Nice

      “If we end up with this anyway because the do-gooders just cannot help themselves from harassing the council into another stupid decision, then we better have optional street-side pickup.”

      I think council is receiving harassment from people on both sides of this issue. That fact that they are considering 2.5 option is proof that they are listening to the concerns of the people who worry about fitting their waste into a container, as this option will be the most expensive for the city to implement, and is not much different then the current system.

      We won’t know until we look at the numbers put Option 3 makes the most fiscal sense.

      In order to collect food scraps then year round containerization is necessary. Meaning that if Option 2.5 is chosen we will have to run the claw and a containerized collection program simultaneously, making this option very expensive.

      If we go with 2.5 and don’t implement simultaneous collection then a separate food collection will be necessary, that makes no fiscal sense either.

      It states in the IWMP that food scrap collection will be necessary for the city to meet it’s state mandated waste diversion rates. It make no fiscal sense not to combine yard waste and food scrap collection.

      It seem that anyone who appreciates fiscal responsibility would appreciate the efficiency of combining food scraps and yard waste.

    7. David Greenwald Post author

      ” Note how that massive container blocks their door.”

      My mother reminded me that they only put the container in front of that door because it’s a side door that they don’t use and delivery trucks used to put packages over their rather than the front door.

  7. Edgar Wai

    Green waste is less visible at night and they may have small thorns that puncture tires. (When I pull a thorn out of a tire, I would guess that it was from the remains of a pile that I bike over after the pile is already swept.)

    If cost is not an issue I prefer a container because I don’t have a sizable amount each week so I need a contain to store it. Other that this, the actual routes I bike are either greenbelt or have wide roads. So the actual hazard against me (1 sample point) is small.

  8. Don Shor

    From the 2007 report. With a few years in place now, I wonder how it’s progressing in Woodland.

    2. Continue to monitor the City of Woodland’s process. Woodland’s City Council took action in 2005 to containerize green waste. There was a significant citizen outcry that prompted the council to establish the Green Waste Citizen Advisory Committee. The citizen committee embarked on a lengthy process, approximately 18 months, to review and develop a green waste pick up method that addresses the various interests and issues. After preliminary review, Woodland City Council asked staff to get cost proposals to implement the task force suggestions. Attached is the most current staff recommendation that will be going to Woodland City Council in the next month or so.

    Also, there was this about surveying Davis residents:

    The City contracted with Godbe Research to conduct a citizen phone survey. The results of the survey indicated that 95% of the respondents were satisfied with the current service and 63% reported they are opposed to the containerization of green waste. While understanding that the survey is one snap shot in time, it does indicate that containerization is an up-hill battle.

    1. darelldd

      I’d certainly be interested in what questions were asked. It sure doesn’t surprise me that people are “satisfied” with doing things the way they’ve always done it. That’s human nature. I like to say that the strongest force in nature is the status quo.

      I’d also be interested in what El Macero residents have to say now that they’ve had containerization for a substantial number of years.

  9. Mr. Toad

    Perhaps a new poll would illuminate the piles enough for the council to see the light of the democratic will of the people. Whatever that will might be.

    On bike safety i find it interesting that we keep hearing about piles are a problem but I’m yet to see anyone come up with accident data of any kind. You would think if this problem is serious we would have data on accidents that support that argument.

    Rats. My neighbor was recently complaining about rats from another neighbors compost piles.

    Seniors. A sincere elderly woman testified at public comment about her inability to get everything in the can. If you are lucky someday you will be old enough to have the same problem. By the way, I found Joe’s comments about raking leaves into the container rather tone deaf about her concerns. While much lip service is generated about helping seniors age in place i wonder if placing that last straw into a can will send someone to Covell Gardens.

    Mobility. Its really difficult for me to cut up tree branches to get them in the can. I dread the thought of recutting and lifting each piece.

    Workers. This creates more work for the already low paid yard maintenance people who will likely need to raise prices to compensate for the additional labor involved in containerization. I doubt the council will consider any of the opportunity costs involved in switching methods.

    Finally the idea that we are behind other communities and polarized on this issue is nothing new so tell the containerization advocates to get in line. We are behind in building housing, economic development, surface water development and many other areas. This is a town where you can’t tear down a rotted 100 year old water tank or a stinking 80 year old latrine without outraging someone enough to make the timeline for getting done go to infinity. This is a town where in the middle of bone dry California that has a population that doesn’t want better water now after foolishly turning it down once before 60years ago. This is a town that said no to fluoride in its water an improvement in public health considered to be one of the great innovations of the 20th century. This is town that turned down a business park that could have bailed out its budget in order to preserve a 19th or 20th century economic order that made few people rich and kept many people poor. This is a town that still touts Village Homes, a 40 year old development, as a model for the future. This is a town where after months or years of debate and millions of dollars in additional infrastructure to please every concern you still got two no votes on a subdivision and relief that the many who threatened to petition for a referendum did not do so. So now, all of a sudden, you find that the perfect is the enemy of the good and that we are behind what other communities are doing. Davis prides itself on being behind, retro, ultra-preservationist and noncompetitive. Why do you bring it up now?

    1. Matt Williams

      Mr. Toad said . . .

      “Seniors. A sincere elderly woman testified at public comment about her inability to get everything in the can. If you are lucky someday you will be old enough to have the same problem. By the way, I found Joe’s comments about raking leaves into the container rather tone deaf about her concerns. While much lip service is generated about helping seniors age in place i wonder if placing that last straw into a can will send someone to Covell Gardens.”

      Toad, I was in Council Chambers on Tuesday and observed first hand the “elderly” woman who testified. I have a suspicion that she would take exception to your characterization of her as “elderly.” Either she was very well preserved, or I believe she is probably no older than I am (66 going on 67), certainly no older than my wife (71 going on 72). Neither of us have had any problem with the containerized system for over 15 years. Admittedly, I was 51 years-old when we arrived, and I certainly can not do as much now as I could in 1998, but the only adjustment I have made is that I used to use loppers to cut my 6-8 foot pruned Oleander stems into two 3-4 foot segments in order to put them in the green can. Now I am more willing to pay the $4.00 on-call pile fee rather than take the time and muscle power to do that lopping.

  10. Davisite2

    Eliminating curbside green waste pickup would spell the end of many who earn their living in landscape care and do not have the equipment/vehicles to haul away the waste from larger tree care. It would certainly be a boon to the larger outfits that do have the trucks to carry it away(for an added cost to the homeowner you can be sure of). The city now does little to no care of the trees it “owns” on homeowner’s property. I take care of these trees and pay for their pruning. Now, I will have to pay to have this waste carted away! I trust that the Council will get the dollar figure that DWR commits to lowering its bill to Davis homeowners when they eliminate the current pickup of green waste.

  11. darelldd

    > On bike safety i find it interesting that we keep hearing about piles are a problem but I’m yet to see anyone come up with accident data of any kind. You would think if this problem is serious we would have data on accidents that support that argument.

    The biggest bicycle safety issue that I hear from the general population is, “no lights at night.” We all understand that dark cyclists is a safety issue for everybody on the streets. Yet we have no data that proves the danger of that known issue. Since we don’t have the data, is it correct to assume that unlit riders aren’t a serious problem that we should deal with?

    You have implied here that the green piles are not a serious problem because we don’t have crash data. Turns out that we don’t have relevant, complete or accurate data on bicycles in general. And specifically, we have no single-vehicle crash data for bicycles. Nobody reports those. You crash into something, you get up, brush off, staunch the bleeding and continue on your way. If you’re lucky. I wouldn’t have a clue who I would “report” this to, nor who would keep this data. I also witness “near misses” almost every day – generally students who swerve out of the bike lane to avoid obstacles. Near misses are certainly never reported.

    Where’s the data on elderly having trouble lifting branches into a cart? You see where I’m going here. Just because we don’t have “data” doesn’t mean we don’t have problems to deal with.

    I hear you on the rest of it. This isn’t an issue of being “behind other communities” for me. I only trot that out when I hear others saying, “we have trees and leaves here in Davis! No way containerization will work here!” Davis isn’t in need of containerization because other communities are doing it. We need it probably for some of the same reasons they do it. And I contend that we can manage it here just like they do. Turns out that there are old people in other cities as well. And I can tell you this from personal experience: cutting up limbs and lifting them into the bin, and then wheeling that bin out to the street is often much easier than dragging some giant branch out to the street. I’m not elderly just yet, but I have the arthritis of an 80-year-old. And I have experience with green waste containers.

    1. Mr. Toad

      The reason I raised bike accident data is I’d be surprised if such data does not exist. Maybe it does maybe it doesn’t but i would think its fair to ask the question of those raising the issue.

      1. darelldd

        As far as I’m aware, the data does not exist. And that doesn’t surprise me at all. Crash data for bicycles is terribly inadequate even when there is a police report (and unless a cyclists is seriously injured, there typically is no police report anyway… in my experience). All we really hear is if the cyclist was wearing a helmet.

        The danger, and the injury-inducing collisions however, are real. This is not a case of, “maybe some cyclists will be injured by piles of waste in the street.” It happens. Especially in the dark, and especially in the wet. Those of us who ride every day have experienced it, seen it happen to others, and/or have close friends who have been injured.

        And even in the situations where a swerve into the traffic lane can avoid the pile – cyclists then often get backlash from drivers who think we’re riding inconsistently or out of control, or simply not “staying out of the road.”

          1. darelldd

            If we only worry about “serious” injuries (including deaths, I guess) then why are we concerned at all with the mere perceived inconvenience to homeowners who feel they have the right to toss everything into the street? Why are we worried at all about aesthetics of green bins? Aren’t these concerns well below ANY injury?

            What level of injury to your child would you label as “serious?” What injury to yourself would you label as “serious?”

  12. jrberg

    I have a simple solution that should please Don and all the “conservatives” on this list. Simply have the disposal of yard waste on the street become illegal at all times. Those who can compost, will, and those who can’t will either handle the issue themselves or use a private sector solution. DWR can get rid of the claw and reduce our rates. Reactionaries will celebrate the return of the way things were done in the fifties, and we will all be happy, including cyclists. Enterprising people can even make money by selling their limbs as firewood to those who ignore no-burn days. Truly, a win-win situation.

    Yes, I’m being facetious….sort of.

  13. jimt

    I’ve been bicycling over 4 miles/day in Davis on most days of the over 15 years I’ve liived in Davis. I’ve run into yard waste in the street at night 2-3 times; luckily for me I didn’t get hurt (a near thing during one incident). In each case, the waste pile was shaded from streetlights by tree branches, so difficult to see; but I still regard these incidents as my own fault–was riding to fast given the visibility and brightness of my headllamp; its my responsibility to not ride faster than is safe in case of an obstacle in the road (more recently; increasing incidence of more serious-size potholes and loose asphalt chunks can be a bike hazard; particularly at night).

    That said; there are a small percentage of residents who are careless about letting their yard waste piles flow into and cover most of (or all of) the bike path width; and I agree the main hazard is bikes swerving around these piles into the car lanes. What about educating residents about keeping their yard waste out of the bike lanes, where it poses a hazard, instead of requiring another ugly bulky container?

    Re “the unsightliness of leaf piles blowing in the wind would not eliminated.” What unsightly? I love the sight of leaf piles blowing in the wind! Mother nature’s beautification of our vast wide stretches of ugly asphalt!

  14. Davisite2

    Unintended consequences: Most stately mature trees are located in the front property of older homes in Davis. Their leaf drop is mostly in front yards, pedestrian walkway and the street. These leaves can, and I predict, will be “blown” into the street, by nature and” helped” by disgruntled homeowners who used to pile the leaves but now are told that they must pick them up into a green waste container(if there is room). Result? much more leaf waste ending up in the storm drain sewers. As to the idea that there would be claw-truck(my grandson’s name for these machines whose appearance is an exciting event) pick-ups in the fall months, many of the mature trees are Modesto Ash These trees(I have one) all have a fungus which causes the leaf canopy to drop in early summer after which it grows a second canopy. Adding insult to injury, these are CITY TREES that were planted all over Davis in the 60’s. There are also mature Chinese Elms that drop their leaves starting late in June and continue through the summer into fall.
    Leaf pile pick-up only in the fall months will not solve the problem of these leaves ending up in the storm drain sewers.

    1. B. Nice

      “These leaves can, and I predict, will be “blown” into the street, by nature and” helped” by disgruntled homeowners who used to pile the leaves but now are told that they must pick them up into a green waste container(if there is room).”

      B. Nice is being taken over by B. Snarky. For the love of god, what is so hard about putting leaves into a container? Seriously?

      1. darelldd

        Relevant on that note: My neighbor is opposed to containerized green waste. (His view is that the danger to cyclists is eliminated if cyclists simply use lights. He also added, “I don’t care about the bikes”). Today he was using an old trash can on it’s side to collect leaves. He raked them in, righted the can and walked it to the street. He then dumped the leaves out of the can, onto the street (in a nice orderly pile, mind you). Perfect little pile of leaves now sitting in the street. They were temporarily containerized *by choice* but are now set free.

        1. Matt Williams

          One has to wonder if it would have been any extra effort for him to carry his pick up can to a green container and dump the leaves in?

          I too use a pick up can to gather my leaves and find that I can fit 6-8 such carry/pick up cans in my green can.

  15. Don Shor

    If they implement this with commercial accounts, as it appears from staff report they intend to do, I will be very curious where DWR will put the large container when they deliver it to the trash area that we share with our neighbors — since there is no space for it in the code-mandated trash enclosure and all around that is parking. Including ADA parking, which cannot be blocked.
    I suspect this will be a space problem at lots of commercial accounts. I’d guess many will simply decline to accept or use the containers.

  16. hpierce

    Another thing about the picture shown at the top… a car parked in the portion of the bike lane that is reserved for right turns,and note the “no parking” sign, and I have to assume the photo was taken by someone who was blocking the BL as much as the yard waste, if not more. Was the photo taken by Mr Tracy? If not him, who? Whoever it is, they have some “splaining to do”

    1. darelldd

      That photo is from my neighborhood. And yes, we tend to get illegally parked cars right near piles just like you see. Especially during student move-in/out days. Hey, if the pile is already there, why not also park right? No incremental damage. Sadly, that’s a good point, and maybe another compelling reason to keep those piles off the street?? The same way my star jasmine vines attract rats, these street piles seem to attract illegally-parked cars. In general, the illegal parking is for a short period, and at least the cars are visible at night. Still bugs me though – enough to have called parking enforcement many times.

      As for “blocking the bike lane” to take the picture. I’m sure Steve did what I regularly do. Brought his bike to a stop at the pile. Took out his camera and clicked. I can guarantee that Steve didn’t drive his car there to take that picture.

    1. B. Nice

      Yes that is one potential negative outcome, but when you weigh against the benefits the IMO the pro’s win out.

      It would be interesting o compare this to the amount of yard waste that currently gets blown away before it is collected, (or dragged by cars driven by a parent who is running late dropping kids of at school and parks to close to a pile because its taking up one of the few drop-off spots available in front of her kids school, not that that has ever happened to me 😉

    2. Matt Williams

      Don, from my experience the issue identified in the staff report almost never happens. My neighbors and I have found it to be very easy to mutually share our total of three green cans (one at each house). In those situations where one of the three of us has more green material than will fit in our personal can, we simply carry the green waste over to one of the neighbors’ cans and put it in there. Since every Davis resident will have a green can, that kind of neighbor-to-neighbor cooperation will be easy.

    3. darelldd

      Yet another consideration is that we (the royal “we” – not me actually) already put kitchen scraps in our trash. Organic waste that goes to the landfill by the tons. Now that we’ll be able to put those into the green can, this additional containerization will have divert tons of organic waste from our trash. In your research, have you only turned up the negatives of containerization? Clearly containerization is not the perfect answer to all of our disposal issues.

    4. Frankly

      I can see this happening a lot. I disagree with Matt. It would be highly irregular and inconvenient to negotiate can space with a neighbor.

      I can see myself doing that… if I had some that would not fit in the green container, I would put in in my regular trash bin assuming I had room there.

      1. Matt Williams

        Why would it be either irregular or inconvenient Frankly? Are you saying that as a rule neighbors do not talk to one another and/or ccoperate with one another in Davis?

        If and when I have some overflow, but not enough to justify creating a pile on the street for an on-call pile pick up, my first alternative is to leave the green material in the “carry can” until the empty green container comes back empty to my side yard after the weekly pickup. Then I dump the carry can material into the empty green can. No muss. No fuss.

        However, if I know I’m going to produce enough overflow to exceed even the capacity of the carry can, then I give one or the other neighbor a quick telephone call and ask if they have spare room in their green can. They invariably do and they say, “Bring it on over.” Frequently, when one or the other neighbor sees that I have my pruning shears out and my gloves on, they proactively say, “If you have overflow and need my green can, bring it on over.”

        The reality is that that kind of overflow probably happens no more than twice a year.

        One of the easy steps to take after you dump your carry can into the green can is to compress the green material in the green can. To do that I simply raise the carry can and place its circular plastic bottom on top of the green material in the green can. Then I bounce the carry can up and down three or four times. That usually compresses the green material down to half its original volume. Easy peasy.

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