Modifications to the Green Pile collection program
On Feb. 5, the Davis City Council voted to decrease the number of “loose in the streets” (LITS) pickups to 11 per year. Bike Davis supported a motion previously passed by the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission (BTSSC) calling for a similar decrease in the number of pickups and a strong recommendation to phase out LITS collection in the near future.
Thanks to all who attended the city council meeting and spoke or wrote in support of decreasing or eliminating the practice of LITS green piles.
details of what the council decided on Feb. 5
The Council voted 4-1 in favor of a tentative plan for LITS pickups every two weeks starting in mid-October for ten pickups, plus one more pickup in the Spring. The plan also includes an increase in the street sweeping from 12 to 22 weeks of the year. The plan is subject to revision during the next few months. No start date for the plan has been set. Read recent news articles below for more details.
The BTSSC-supported plan (which Bike Davis also supported) had called for 12 pickups on consecutive weeks, November through January, a shorter duration during which piles would be present.
Recent articles about green piles:
City Council votes to reduce use of “the claw” (Davis Enterprise, 2/6/2019)
Council rolls back but doesn’t end “loose in the streets” yard waste pick up (Davis Vanguard, 2/6/2019)
The halfway measure on yard waste didn’t work (Commentary, Davis Vanguard, 2/5/2019)
City still trying to figure out yard material pile collection (Davis Vanguard, 2/4/2019)
How green piles affect cyclists
We’ve collected feedback from a group of about 1,000 people. We heard from many disgruntled bicyclists who expressed strong frustration at the green piles, which force them into the traffic lane, risking conflict with fast moving car traffic.
We also got about 15 stories of crashes into green piles, mostly at night and mostly on unlit streets where the piles are all but invisible until the last second, even with bike lights.
Many crashes throw riders over the handlebar, which is the most harmful way to crash. Riders came out with broken noses, missing teeth, stitches on the face, crutches, weeks of physical therapy and missed work, long-lasting back problems… Every one of these crashes would have been avoided if the bike lanes had been clear of obstructions.
Here are detailed accounts of these crashes.
How do other cities handle green waste?
Davis’ “loose yard waste” collection system is the exception rather than the norm. We’ve surveyed all 22 cities that are part of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG): 17 of these cities, representing 650,000 residents, rely exclusively on green waste containers for yard waste collection. Most of these cities also allow one to three free “bulky items” pickups per year, by appointment, where yard waste can also be collected.
If this works for 650,000 of our neighbors, surely it can also work for Davis.
The table below presents the cities in SACOG and how they handle their green waste.
Tell us your story
Have you ever crashed your bike due to a pile of yard waste left on the street?
Or have you just wished those “green piles” of leaves and branches were not obstructing your travel?
We would love to hear from you! Your stories and accounts will help show how dangerous and discouraging these green piles can be to cyclists.