Saving the Trees on Jefferson Street
August 28, 2012 4 Comments
A few days ago, we were contacted by Kathy Hallinan, who was determined to save 25 trees on Jefferson Street in Fishermans Wharf. They had been posted for destruction.
No one had any idea these trees had been targeted as part of $5 million in planned improvements in the Fisherman’s Wharf area. Only when the notices were posted did the public realize that the plan was to remove all the trees for two blocks. These were healthy mature London Planes (sycamores) and pittosporum trees, and they would be replaced with… lamp posts. With hanging flower baskets.
San Francisco Forest Alliance as an organization, and many of the members individually, supported the effort to save the trees. A petition was started at Change.org, and we helped spread the word. We helped build a website for easy access to information. (Those who follow us on Facebook would have seen both the pleas and the petition.) We attended a hearing on August 27th to voice our support for the trees and the activists seeking to save them
San Francisco Forest Alliance sent in a formal letter to the SD Department of Public Works (SF DPW), opposing the felling. (Though the trees are on Ports land, they do not have a tree-felling process, and defer it to SF DPW.) The Sierra Club had a resolution in opposition [to the tree-cutting]. Liam O’Brien, lepidopterist, pointed out that London Plane trees were the favored habitat of the native butterfly, the Western Tiger Swallowtail, and noted that the trees would be full of pupae now, ready for over-wintering.
The petition gained almost 200 signatures in under a week, and the rate at which the signatures were coming in was snowballing.
TWENTY-ONE TREES SAVED
We attended the SF DPW hearing on August 27th expecting to face considerable opposition. We were thrilled, therefore, with the presentation from the project manager, who said they had modified their project with a compromise.
Only 4 trees would be felled, 3 because they needed to make a passenger drop-off place in front of Hotel Argonaut, and one because it was in the way of planned construction. Three others in relatively poor condition would be monitored. Four new trees would be planted, but probably not on Jefferson.
We’d like to thank the project managers for reconsidering the tree-destruction.