The Village of Oak Park | 123 Madison St.  Oak Park, IL 60302 | village@oak-park.us

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Annual leaf collection program underway

Oct. 12, 2017 - The 2017 fall leaf collection program is scheduled for October 16 through November 30, with seven pickups planned for each quadrant of the Village.

Leaves raked into the streets by residents, landscapers and property owners are pushed into piles during the night, and then collected for recycling the following day.

Keeping up with the leaves from the nearly 19,000 trees on parkways is just the start of the challenge the Village faces each fall. In addition to the leaves from these parkway trees, most of the leaves from the many more thousands of deciduous trees on private property tend to end up on the street as well.

The sheer volume of leaves that must be carted away each season is immense — nearly 2,000 tons. For 28 days and nights in October and November, crews from the Public Works Department and a private contractor push, pile, load and haul away the mountains of leaves raked into many of the 22 lane miles of streets in Oak Park.

The movement of equipment to get the leaves from the streets to the trucks to a licensed composting facility is nothing less than a heavy equipment ballet. Collecting the leaves on streets in neighborhoods with on-street parking can be especially difficult, requiring crews to be creative and resourceful, and drivers to be patient.

The cooperation of residents and property owners is essential for the program to work.

Leaves need to be not only raked into the street, but ideally kept at least 18 inches from the curb to make sure the equipment can get them all.

Residents also are urged to keep their leaves on the parkway until the day before their scheduled pickup, a simple courtesy that can improve day-to-day traffic flow and reduce the chances of an accident.

But with so many property owners relying on private landscaping companies that operate on strict schedules, motorists are urged to drive with caution as they are sure to encounter huge piles of possibly wet and blowing leaves on many streets every day of the week during the collection period.

Residents also are asked to resist the urge to toss in brush, pumpkins and all other forms of plant matter that can contaminate the leaf recycling stream.

Hear are a few other simple rules Village officials ask residents to follow:

  • Consider composting or using the leaves as garden mulch as an alternative to raking.
  • Rake leaves out the day before the scheduled pickup date.
  • If a scheduled pickup date is missed, keep the leaves on the parkway until the night before the next scheduled pickup.
  • Leaves only — do not add brush, grass clippings or yard waste.
  • Do not park on or near a pile of leaves, which can hinder leaf removal operations. Heat from a car also could ignite the leaves.
  • Rake leaves onto side streets whenever possible. Try to avoid major thoroughfares where piles of leaves might create traffic hazards.
  • Do not rake leaves into or close to cul de sacs or traffic diverters. The equipment needs room to operate.
  • Keep catch basins clear of raked leaves to avoid flooding.
  • Inform landscape services of the leaf collection schedule.
  • Obey all parking restrictions. Regulations are strictly enforced.
  • Dampen piles after raking to avoid leaves being blown by the wind.
  • Drive carefully. Leaves are slippery when wet and large piles may hinder visibility.
  • Watch for workers. Crews will create safe work zones and close intersections for a few minutes while removing large leaf piles.

For more information call 708.358.5700 or email publicworks@oak-park.us.

2017 Leaf Collection Schedule