NYC takes responsibility for street tree damage - Metro US

NYC takes responsibility for street tree damage

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 14: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during an event to unveil the plans for the new park at the Hudson Yards development, September 14, 2016 in New York City. The Hudson Yards Public Square and Gardens is set to open in 2018. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Heastie announced that they will not send out violations for sidewalk damage caused by city trees. 

“We tripled funding for tree related sidewalk repair, but homeowners were still on the hook for problems they didn’t create. As a homeowner, I know how frustrating that is. Now, if a street tree causes damage, we’re taking care of it.” Mayor de Blasio said. 

The department of transportation and the Parks department will continue to investigate sidewalk issues, but if problems are tree-related, local government will pay for repairs. The city will also be working on a tree and sidewalk program, which will take care of 5,500 sites within the next three years.

DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in a press release, “DOT works with property owners to make our sidewalks safe, but when city-owned tree roots are the culprit, homeowners should not be liable.”

Additionally, Trottenberg added, “We will review our records for violations and liens that can be cancelled as we work closely with [the Parks Department] on this common sense initiative.”

According to a press release, DOT will be reviewing all 50,000 violations to see if they were caused by city tree or other violations.  

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP said in a press release that, “Our more than 650,000 street trees are a tremendous resource to the city, but over the decades root growth has caused conflicts on our city’s sidewalks.”

Silver also said that, “Our plan to repair all backlogged sites over the next three years, combined with new policies around sidewalk violations, will ensure that trees remain a boon to New Yorkers and not a burden. We’re thankful for the support from Mayor de Blasio and our partnership with NYC DOT to find a path forward on this issue.”

The “Trees & Sidewalks” program was created in 2005 to help benefit family homes by fixing damaged sidewalks affected by the trees. This new program will add to the $16 million funding provided in 2017. The sidewalks suffering the most will be taken care of this year.


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