From leaf collection to parking restrictions, helpful info for every Portlander this fall.
By Tony Zeli
Whether your brand new to Portland, a long-time resident, or just visiting, there is a lot to know to get by in our city. And with every new season we face new challenges. So, for all of us who are starring at our yards wondering, “What am I going to do with all these leaves…” Here’s the Portland Fall Survival Guide to curbside leaf collection, on-street parking, and an important note on what to do about all those campaign signs.
CURBSIDE LEAF COLLECTION
The city crews will pick up your leaf and yard waste curbside if placed in a proper brown paper bag on regularly scheduled trash days from October 28th through November 22nd.
The leaves must be in the large, paper biodegradable leaf bags that can be purchased at most hardware stores. Just place your leaves curbside on your normal trash pickup day. Please note that bags may not always be picked up on the same day as your trash and recycling. Bags should be left out, and crews will be back around to pick them up.
PLEASE, DON’T JUST DUMP IT!
Are you thinking: It’s just leaves and grass, who’s going to care? Think again.
Dumping leaves and grass into drainage ditches, brooks, or wetlands can cause flooding, smother the vegetation that stabilizes stream banks, and contribute to water pollution. And it’s also illegal. So, be eco-friendly and either compost that yard waste or bag it up for crews to haul away during this collection time. Our streams and wetlands thank you!
LOOK OUT! PARKING RESTRICTIONS
If you park overnight in Portland, you know these signs. They’re everywhere on the peninsula telling you to move your car to opposite sides of the street every other week. During busy tourist months, the city stops enforcing the street maintenance parking signs. That grace period is between June and September, so this fall they’re back in effect.
The restrictions are in place from October 1st through May 31st, except for the Old Port, where they are enforced year-round. The purpose is to give city crews an opportunity to street sweep, snowplow, prune and remove trees, and other street work.
Of course, every resident who has ever had their car towed during one of these street maintenance nights wonders if the street actually looks any cleaner the next day. Was their car towed for the good of the community or to fatten the coffers of a tow company? Well, this year the City of Portland says it is making a renewed effort to actually run street sweeping operations on each street twice a month. But whether they are able to or not, residents must still obey the signs. Vehicles will be subject to ticketing and towing!
Visit www.portlandmaine.gov/streetmaintenance to see which areas have restrictions on what night.
IT GETS TRICKIER…
Please remember that if you park in an area that has a Tuesday 12:01 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. restriction, you won’t want to leave your car parked overnight on Monday evening. This will be in effect for areas with a first and third Tuesday of the month restriction.
During October, the Parking Division issued warnings and tickets for lack of compliance. Now that fall is in full swing, you better believe that towing can occur when street sweepers are out.
Also, a heads up, if you ever leave a vehicle in the same on-street spot for more than 10 days, it may be ticketed as being abandoned.
CAMPAIGN SIGNS – YOU CAN’T JUST TRASH THEM
The day after every election we are all thinking the same thing. Can we recycle these campaign signs, already? Well, no, they’re not your property. But every sign should have the name and address of who does own it, and the date they plan to have it picked up by. So, someone should be by soon to grab it.
“The use of temporary signs, especially campaign signs, has become an eye-sore. They are distracting to drivers, annoying for public works and personal residents to dispose of, and a waste of time and resources,” said Portland State Senator Ben Chipman earlier this year. He worked to pass legislation to reduce the amount of time campaign signs can be on the right of way from 12 to 6 weeks. The same law requires campaigns to mark their signs with the 6-week time frame during which the signs will be up.
In fact, there is a lot of don’ts when placing campaign signs. The same or substantially similar sign cannot be placed any closer than 30 feet from each other. And according to city ordinance they cannot be placed on public property like the lawn in front of a fire station, or attached to a public building, or in a park. Signs must be in the public right-of-way and placed in a safe location that does not impede driver visibility.
If someone places a campaign sign in an inappropriate location on public property, contact the City Clerk’s office with the information on the sign so they can ask the candidate to remove the sign. Reach the clerk’s office at 207-874-8610 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tony Zeli is publisher and editor and is a Portland resident. You can reach him at email@example.com.