Weather woes delay leaf pickup

2/5/2016, 6:36 a.m.
Richmond’s big snow means the city’s leaf collection is going to run further behind. Heavy rains during December pushed back ...

Richmond’s big snow means the city’s leaf collection is going to run further behind.

Heavy rains during December pushed back the city’s leaf vacuuming program by two weeks or more, the city Department of Public Works has acknowledged.

North Side resident Melissa Baker knows all too well about the delay. Six weeks ago, she raked leaves in her Miller Avenue yard to the street.

The city’s published schedule showed that leaf collection would take place between Nov. 30 and Dec. 11 in the Southern Barton Heights neighborhood on North Side where she lives.

After raking, Ms. Baker waited and waited for the city equipment to come by and pick up the leaves. She gave up. On Jan. 9, she and her mother, Winona Dutton, spent a few hours bagging the uncollected leaves.

“I didn’t think they would come,” Ms. Baker said.

To her bemusement, a few days later, the city posted signs that the leaf collection was to take place Wednesday, Jan. 20.

“What can you do?” Ms. Baker said.

But the snow forecast prevented the Jan. 20 work and assured other residents might not see leaf trucks for some time.

The trucks that collect the vacuumed leaves have been fitted with plows and are part of the city’s fleet that is clearing snow from streets.

According to Public Works, which divides the city into 15 residential areas for leaf collection, only four areas completed before the snow arrived: The Fan, Maymont-Byrd Park-Oregon Hill, the Museum District and Newtowne-Carver-Jackson Ward.

Collection is still underway in five other areas from Bellemeade in the South Side to Windsor Farms in the West End and Washington Park on North Side.

Meanwhile, leaf work was scheduled to begin this week in four other areas, Church Hill, Stony Point, Stratford Hills and Westover Hills-Forest Hill-Woodland Heights, all at least two weeks later than expected.

Public Works could not say when that work will begin, given the snow cover. With warmer weather arriving, that snow could go, but leaf collection could still be disrupted by forecasts for rain.

Nor is it known when leaf work could begin in the Westover Gardens and Worthington Farms neighborhoods, both in South Side.

Sharon North, spokeswoman for Public Works, said leaf collection updates will be posted on the city’s website, www.Richmondgov.com, and through the leaf hotline, (804) 646-5323. — JEREMY M. LAZARUS