Street Sweeping Operations
When does sweeping take place?
Residential streets are swept twice a year; in the early spring and late fall. Alleys are swept after residential spring sweeping is complete. There are 530 miles of residential streets and 330 miles of alleys in Saint Paul. The City sweeps the 340 miles of arterial (main) streets on a regular schedule from April until October depending on weather conditions. Most arterial streets are swept at least 8 times per year.
Putting any material (i.e. leaves, trash, dirt) from the boulevard, sidewalk or private property into the street is illegal. Anything that goes down a storm drain flows directly into nearby lakes and rivers and decomposing plant materials in the water encourages the growth of harmful aquatic plants and algae.
The Art, Science, and Timing of Street Sweeping
We receive input from residents (and even biologists) about our street sweeping operation every year – many noting that it appears that we start the fall sweep operation before a majority of the leaves have fallen. There are many factors that impact why we start our operations when we do, but foremost is that we have a very short window between when leaves begin to fall and when the first snow or freeze may occur.
We are constantly monitoring the trees, but measuring the amount of leaf drop is a very subjective process. We take into account and adjust for the different drop rates for different trees in different corners of the city. Unfortunately, the oaks, maples, aspens and cottonwoods don’t all perfectly align their schedules.
Weather, time and budget permitting, we sometimes circle back to streets swept early in the process to clean up as much of the organic matter as possible. The second pass begins only after we are able to successfully complete the first round of all streets. Crews do not post “no parking” signs for the second pass through.
Unfortunately, there is no perfect science to determine the optimal start time for sweeping, but our experience has shown that starting earlier helps ensure we can sweep all streets in Saint Paul.
What we need from you:
Bag and dispose yard waste - Please bag and dispose of your leaves and grass clippings properly. Do not sweep them into the street. It is illegal to push any materials, including leaves, grass clipping or other debris into the street. Property owners will be be ticketed. Properly disposing of your yard waste protects our lakes, rivers and streams, and helps city crews to sweep all streets on time. Sweeping up excessive debris in the street slows down the process significantly.
With the Citywide Garbage Service, residents in properties with 1-4 units can opt in for annual yard waste service from their hauler, or put out compostable yard waste bags with their weekly garbage service to be collected for $3 per bag, plus tax. Visit www.co.ramsey.mn.us to find out how and where to drop off your yard waste.
Move your car when your street is posted – City crews will post temporary “no parking” signs at least 24 hours in advance before sweeping any streets, banning parking from 8 a.m.–6 p.m. the day the street is swept. Having cars off the street helps our operation run more smoothly and collecting as much debris as possible. Do not park along these streets until the signs are removed. Vehicles parked in the “no parking” zone could be ticketed and towed.
Make sure all garbage and recycling carts are not in the street - If you have curbside garbage or recycling services, only put your carts on the boulevard. Do not place them in the streets. The City is working with the recycling and garbage haulers to not place empty carts in the street.
Adopt a Drain - You can also do your part and help protect our waterways by adopting a storm drain. By keeping storm drains free of debris you help the environment, keep streets from unnecessary backups, and you will have a cleaner neighborhood. Sign up to adopt a drain at www.stpaul.gov/adoptadrain.
2019 Fall Sweep
The 2019 Fall Sweep is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. View our interactive map of the sweeping routes in Saint Paul.
Click on the image below for the updated interactive map:
How is it done?
The City uses two types of sweepers, the Elgin Pelican and the Elgin Crosswind. The Pelicans have capacity to pick up gravel, leaves and debris as well as sand and dirt.
The Pelicans can empty their loads directly into dump trucks so all of the sweepings can be hauled away to be recycled, composted or sent to the landfill. Because of the screening that is done, very little goes to the landfill.
Street Maintenance Service Program
Street Sweeping is funded by the City's general fund and fees charged to abutting property owners.
The 2019 Estimated Rate per foot by Street Class is:
Class 1: Downtown ($2.92)
Class 2: Outlying Commercial Arterial ($1.08)
Class 3: Residential ($0.43)
Class 4: Alley ($0.16)
Learn more about the City of Saint Paul’s Street Maintenance Service Program and property owner's fees for lighting, street sweeping, seal coating and/or mill and overlay projects.