Back-seat Driver: Don’t park on leaf piles, Sacramento officials say

It’s that time of year again for a Sacramento fall tradition – the one where people park their cars on top of leaf piles, then drive off, scraping half of the pile into the street like a brown skid mark.

Those trails of leaves are impossible for the city’s “Claw” machines to scoop up, not to mention that they’re unsightly. So grumbling residents head into the street with rakes and brooms to reassemble their leaf piles, hoping city crews show up this time before they get run over again.

City officials say there is no law against parking on leaf piles, but pickup crews would really prefer you don’t. Spokeswoman Erin Treadwell said people should try to park 3 feet from a pile. That gives the city’s claws (fascinating but clumsy creatures) maneuvering room to get to them.

Even though it is claw season, city officials want residents to help them out by continuing to also place green waste into containers and put them out on the street for regular weekly pickup.

Cyclists have complained about leaves or garbage cans in bike lanes. City officials say they’re listening: They’ve had new wording printed on new city garbage cans: “Please do not place in a bike lane.”

Green streets

While most streets are brown with leaves, a few are going green. City crews were out Thursday applying a green coloring in bike lanes for safety on Capitol Mall and in front of California State University, Sacramento, where Carlson Drive meets H and J streets.

The city also will add a new traffic signal pole at the northeast corner of Carlson and H, where a bicyclist was killed a few years ago. That area also will get larger signal heads and countdown pedestrian signals.

We got a call from a reader Thursday who described the new color on Capitol Mall as lime green. City officials say they just call it green, but it’s a shade they think really pops and should catch people’s attention.

Bus stop

Sacramento Regional Transit General Manager Mike Wiley just finished his annual month of riding buses and light-rail lines daily to talk with customers, and has a message for the woman he met on the North Natomas bus the other day.

He failed to get her name, but tells us he figured out an easy fix for the problem she described. He’s instructed the early morning Natomas bus to turn its “in service” light on and start taking on passengers as it heads north to its official start point. That way the woman can hop on early, directly in front of her apartment, and ride the bus as it loops back south toward downtown. She won’t have to cross busy Natomas Boulevard and walk nearly a half-mile to the closest southbound bus stop.

Why isn’t there a bus stop across the street from her complex? The city didn’t build a sidewalk adjacent to the street on that part of Natomas Boulevard, and, according to Wiley, RT is no longer allowed under federal law to put stops in places where there is no sidewalk.