San Francisco officials to cut down nearly 200 trees

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ByCarolyn Tyler KGO logo
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
San Francisco officials to cut down nearly 200 trees
Nearly 200 trees are going to be chopped down to make room for a bus corridor on Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco and some residents aren't happy about this.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A public hearing was held in San Francisco Monday afternoon over a controversial plan to get rid of dozens of trees to make room for Muni buses.

Nearly 193 trees along the Van Ness corridor from Mission to Lombard streets are on the chopping block.

Notices have been posted alerting neighbors that the oaks and eucalyptus in the center of the street and the sidewalks are scheduled for removal to make way for the Bus Rapid Transit System.

The $160 million project slated for construction beginning next year will take over the median and one lane in each direction for Muni and Golden Gate Transit buses.

"Van Ness BRT is going to increase travel speeds by 32 percent along Van Ness. It's something that tens of thousands of people travel along every single day," San Francisco Municipal Agency spokesperson Paul Rose said.

The SFMTA plans to replace the mature trees with 400 new ones, but it's still a disappointment to some who are pushing for a less drastic option.

"The fact that they are going to be planting twice the number of trees they are taking down makes us feel a little better, but not great," Friends of Urban Forest spokesperson Dan Flanagan said.

Flanagan says San Francisco has a lower percentage of trees than most other major cities.

The Department of Public Works is in charge and has managed to keep 12 trees standing that had been slated for removal. "From my perspective I wish the trees would always win, but the city has to balance these needs," DPW urban forester Carla Short said.

A tree dedicated to Rosa Parks will be the only one that will be relocated.