A white, freshly painted street line going directly over a sizable pile of leaves might look like an accident — or the epitome of laziness. But the local street crew in Memphis, Tenn., that painted the line said they knew what they were doing and painted over the leaves, instead of just brushing them aside, on purpose.

paint over leaves

What might look like laziness on the part of the street crew was actually the result of them following a safety policy. (Image source: WMCTV-TV/Facebook)

“Once this large convoy gets rolling, it’s really safer and more efficient for it to just keep rolling. We don’t want to, particularly on a busy street, to stop the convoy,” Memphis City Engineer John Cameron told WMCTV-TV of the three-vehicle crew’s operations.

“We have over 750 miles of street that we stripe. We try to do that over a three year cycle,” Cameron said. “It was done per our policy.”

paint stripe over leaves

A smaller street crew eventually came back to move the debris and fill in the stripe of paint. (Image source: WMCTV-TV)

While it might seem amusing in photos, some residents were not laughing about the six- to seven-foot gaff on Crumpler Road:

“They need to send somebody out to move the leaves. Re-paint it,” said Memphian Fred Roy.

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Comments on Facebook included “I pay taxes and this is an absolute misuse of taxpayer dollars” and “I know there are some good workers, but as a whole it is pitiful the apathy and lazy attitudes in the Memphis city organizations.”

Watch WCMTV’s report about the issue:

Action News 5 – Memphis, Tennessee
It’s not as though such a problem won’t be fixed. According to Cameron, in these cases crews make note of issues so a smaller team can go back later to repaint.

Although the crew did the right thing from a safety perspective, Cameron did acknowledge that they should have turned off the sprayer when they went over the leaves.

As of Thursday, the leaves were removed and the subsequent gap in the street line was filled.

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