Street Trees Turn Hazardous
March 3rd, 2009

Who knew street trees could be so dangerous?

At City Hall this afternoon, several council members railed against the administration for what they say is not fully funding a program to repair sidewalks uprooted by sprawling street trees.

The sidewalks become a serious liability when pedestrians trip over the uneven pavement and injure themselves. They could then, said Councilmember John Liu, sue the city. He estimates the tort liability could be as high as $100 million.

Fiona Watt, assistant commissioner for forestry and horticulture at the parks department, said it would cost $34 million to fix all of the sidewalks currently reported as damaged by street trees in today’s dollar. To date, she said, the Department of Parks and Recreation has received $14.9 million for program, targeted at one, two and three family homes, and repaired 4,491 sites since 2005.

Council members Simcha Felder and Liu are urging the administration to spend more, since the street trees could end up costing taxpayers a lot more in the courtroom.

“In this time of dire fiscal straights,” Liu said, “that allocation should be made immediately to save city taxpayers.”

Council members also criticized the administration for not sending representatives from the transportation and law departments, who had been requested at the hearing.

By on March 3, 2009, 4:35 pm
In category: Environment,Law,Parks,Transportation | Comments Off on Street Trees Turn Hazardous

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