Spirit of St. Louis – Pick Your Charity, Pick Your Car

Piles of leaves sit in St. Louis streets with no immediate pick-up plan

ST. LOUIS, MO — Parts of St. Louis may look like they're in the middle of leaf emergency. Drivers heading down Candy Cane Lane in St. Louis Hills to see the Christmas lights Monday night, may find themselves driving around, over, or through all the leaves piling up in the streets. Leaves are piling up everywhere in the neighborhood. Dreams of a white Christmas have become a real life nightmare of a brown one.

Residents worried leaves would not be picked up until after the holidays. They’re probably right. St. Louis City residents are supposed to blow or rake their leaves to the curbs. City Street Department workers then collect them. There are 15 crews to cover 1,100 miles of streets. They have to pick up from both sides, so it is really 2,200 miles.

The St. Louis Hills neighborhood is full of 70 to 90 year old trees. They drop loads of leaves. The neighborhood used to get extra collection days that stopped last year.

The Street Department now reserves leaf pickup for each street’s designated monthly street cleaning day. Certain neighborhoods were getting more pickups than others in the past. That was deemed unfair. Residents say that makes the city unresponsive to changing conditions.

Leaves can be similar to snow with large amounts falling at times that can be at odds with scheduled street leaf pickup. Streets that had leaf pick up just last week already have more leaves down now than they did then. Their next scheduled pickup will be after Christmas, if at all. The Street Department suspends leaf pickup after the first accumulating snow.

Residents are furious. They’re the only residents in the area who pay income tax. Property taxes in certain neighborhoods have soared. Taxes used to cover trash pickup and extra leaf pickups, too. Now residents also pay trash fees.

They’re paying much more in taxes and getting a lot less service.

The Street Department recommends other options including: bagging the leaves and call the Citizens Service Bureau to arrange for pickup (in less than 48 hours); hire someone to take away your leaves; use a lawn mower to mulch them and throw the clippings in lawn waste barrels and dumpsters.