Shoreline's sidewalk and tree maintenance program

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The wrong variety of street trees were planted in Shoreline.  Their roots crack the sidewalks and make it dangerous for wheelchairs, strollers, and older citizens to walk safely.  The sidewalk in the foreground has been repaired after the trees were removed.  15th NE last year. Photo by Diane Hettrick.


A reader was disturbed to see the mature maple trees on the N 155th planting strip being cut down. There was an outcry last year when residents were shocked that trees on 15th NE were cut, apparently without notice. 

After that incident, City staff met with Ridgecrest and Parkwood residents about a large number of street trees scheduled for removal in their neighborhood. Neighbors and the neighborhood associations were informed, and the trees were tagged far in advance. 

Obviously the communication improved. However that doesn't help residents who regularly drive through an area without living there. It's still a shock to see mature, beautiful, healthy trees being cut to the ground. I asked Shoreline city staff to provide information on the 155th trees and the tree policy. - DKH

“Trees impacted by summer maintenance projectsCity must weigh tree removal with public safety“
From the City of Shoreline

Shoreline is known for its beautiful trees, and the City’s Tree Code regulates the removal, retention and replacement of trees on private property. This summer, maintenance projects may impact the removal and replacement of trees in various locations on property owned by the City.

The annual ongoing Curb Ramp, Gutter and Sidewalk Maintenance Program includes designing and constructing curb ramps in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. To be in compliance, the City is repairing and updating existing concrete gutters and sidewalks damaged by tree roots that have cracked the concrete or caused settling.

On occasion, trees must be removed due to their size and the damage they cause to gutters and sidewalks. The City takes every precaution to save a tree, but in some cases a tree must be removed to make curbs and sidewalks safe for pedestrians. The City takes great care in deciding if a tree requires removal and has a plan in place to replace each tree that is removed with a different type of tree that will not cause long-term damage.

If a tree requires removal or replacement, City staff sends out a notification letter two weeks in advance to residents whose properties are near the trees and visits homes to talk with homeowners. Residents are encouraged to call with questions and concerns. The City has added another step by meeting with local neighborhood associations to discuss the removal or replacement of trees months in advance and installing signage on the selected trees, with a number to call for more information. This year the Public Works Department met with Ridgecrest and Parkwood residents at Parkwood Elementary School in February 2011.

The 2011 Curb and Gutter and Sidewalk Maintenance Program begins in June and continues through July. For more information about tree removal and replacement, contact Brian Breeden, 206-801-2441  and for information about Shoreline’s Tree Code, contact Project Manager Paul Cohen, 206-801-2551. 


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