This NYT article, which ran on July 6th heralds good news for New York City’s street trees and the residents those trees shade.
According to the Times, the City has more than doubled its’ tree maintenance budget for the coming fiscal year. Times reporters claimed to have “revealed an uneven system of inspections and an overstretched budget for tree maintenance” in connection with reporting on a series of incidents involving lawsuits by citizens who suffered bodily harm from falling tree limbs due to negligence in tree maintenance by the City.
When TreeKIT is out in the field, the #1 issue that residents who we encounter quiz us about is City street tree maintenance. The questions range from how to get it accomplished, concern for bodily and property harm. But touchingly and most often, these residents express concern for the safety of their neighbors strolling down their block, all the while enjoying the shade and beauty that street trees in a well-maintained city can provide.
Something that these articles don’t address is what we at TreeKIT are seeing out in the field, which is that specifically trees in economically depressed neighborhoods get even less attention and maintenance than their brethren in places like Central Park and fashionable parts of town. While MillionTrees NYC has recently planted more trees on forgotten streets in many neighborhoods, the watering and pruning and treepit maintenance (so necessary for young trees newly planted) is obviously not as consistent or as complete as trees on main thoroughfares and more lively commercial areas.
Is this a function of pressure on the City from business improvement districts leaving less City maintenance money for trees on far-flung streets? Who’s lobbying for ALL of the street trees? What are your thoughts on this topic.