Most neighbors living in the vicinity of 40th St. have known about the changes coming to a large stretch of that thoroughfare for some time now. We wrote about those changes back in March and Eric touched on it in his article about the Green Lake Area Paving and Safety Project (of which the 40th St. work is a part). In addition to the repaving of 40th, this project includes: addition of curb ramps and painted crosswalks in select locations; improved pedestrian lighting and bus stops; sidewalk repair; and, as we all know by now, bike lanes at the expense of parking on the south side of the street from Stone Way to Latona. Lost amid all the discussion about the bike lanes was any mention of the impact of the sidewalk repairs.
Recently, folks have noticed signs going up on trees along 40th indicating that some of them may be removed. The trees are not being removed to make room for bike lanes, it seems. Rather, the repair work being contemplated for the sidewalks may necessitate taking the trees down. Personally, I believe our many trees are a real hallmark of Northwest cities that sets us apart from cities elsewhere in the country, and we’re losing more of them every year to development. But they clearly do quite a job on our sidewalks. The root systems heave the pavement up so high in some spots that it can be pretty difficult to hurdle over it, especially if it’s dark out.
The notices SDOT has put up imply that they may or may not have to remove the trees for the sidewalk repairs. A number of readers have contacted us to say that concerned neighbors need to act now to try to nudge SDOT in the direction of tree preservation as much as possible rather than tree removal.
You might already be aware of this, as it’s being discussed on the community Facebook page and Nextdoor, but 17 trees are slated for possible removal between Wallingford and Latona along N. 40th. I’m attaching a couple of pictures that I took . This is apparently due to sidewalk buckling and not because of the proposed bike lanes. Given that not all the trees are marked, that seems accurate to me.
I personally think it would be a good idea for folks that care to go ahead and email their support for tree preservation along that route to the city arborist. Losing those 17 oaks would really change that street, not to mention the shade, carbon sequestering, and beauty that they provide for the neighborhood. The sidewalk needs fixing, but I feel like we don’t have to make that a zero sum game.
To make your voice heard, contact the city arborists at:
[email protected] or (206) 684-TREE