Is it Legal to Rake Your Leaves into the Streets in Billings?
It's not uncommon to drive around Billings and see piles of leaves in the street. Obviously, some of them are there because that's where they fall (pesky gravity), especially along the older neighborhoods with beautiful, tree-lined streets like Lewis Avenue, Clark Avenue, Burlington Avenue, etc.
Don't expect the city to clean them up for you.
Some leaves are in the street naturally and in other instances, it's obvious that the resident or business owner raked or blew them from their yard into the curb. I reached out to the City of Billings for some clarification about this practice. Public Works Street-Traffic Superintendent Derick Miller happily answered my questions.
Billings City Ordinance says you can't blow them into the street.
Miller said that trees (and the debris they create) that are on the boulevard are the responsibility of the property owner and it violates city code to blow them into the street. Citations may be issued, but a more likely scenario is that city street sweeper crews will simply go around your giant pile of street leaves. He added that the machines have to make four or five passes - at a blistering speed of 2 MPH - to pick up a giant pile of leaves, which is simply not feasible.
Leaves block storm drains.
Another big reason not to push your leaves into the street is that they can cause real problems for storm drains. It's just a matter of time until we get our first heavy, wet fall snow. Leaves in the curb can block those drains and the snowmelt, causing other issues.
Do this, instead.
My personal favorite is to compost my dead leaves and use them in my garden next year. Ten giant bags of leaves break down into a minuscule pile over the winter. Another good option is to use your mower as a mulcher and let the chopped-up pieces lie where they fall. The leaves can provide needed nutrients for your lawn.
Leaf container sites around town are out now.
Six huge roll-off containers are now set up around town for residents to drop off their bagged leaves. When full, the containers will be taken to the mulch collection site at the landfill. Please don't throw household trash in these containers.
FUN FACT: Fall debris collected by the City each year is enough to fill Daylis Stadium three feet deep.
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