Updated: Safer Sidewalks, Mature Trees, & SDOT

1/4/13: Updates appended below, to reflect new and ongoing activity on this issue.

At the October 2, 2012 MCC meeting, an independent community group of Madrona residents and business owners presented an initial draft of their plan for ‘Safer Sidewalks & Mature Trees’ in Madrona.

Formed in response to SDOT’s recent removal of mature trees on 34th as part of their sidewalk repair, the SSMT group exists to find and implement a comprehensive plan for sidewalk repair that will retain as many existing street trees in Madrona as possible.  The groups’ current focus is on the 5 blocks of 34th between E Cherry and E Pike, the the 1 block of Union between 34th and 35th.

A full draft of the 23-page proposed plan can be viewed here; discussion notes from the MCC meeting are available here and archived in Meeting Minutes.

To send feedback to the Safer Sidewalks & Mature Trees workgroup, email MadronaTreesSidewalks@gmail.com

12/6/12 Update – Differing perspectives, SDOT response, and upcoming meetings:

A separate group of Madrona residents are advocating for faster removal of the mature trees in front of homes on the 900 block of 34th avenue, citing issues including pedestrian safety, front yards being darkened by the tree canopy, and sewer line repair costs arising from tree roots.  A copy of the letter sent to Peter Hahn (SDOT director) on 11/12 was shared with the MCC at the 12/4 council meeting, and is posted above.

It’s worth noting that SDOT is listening to residents on this issue.  Anticipated removal of 3 mature trees in early October did not occur, with SDOT informing residents:

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) recently received a Safer Sidewalks, Mature Trees (SSMT) committee proposal that identifies new options for repairing the sidewalk and retaining the trees.  SDOT needs time to evaluate this proposal, but also wants to improve the sidewalks as soon as possible. 

Our current plan for this weekend is to remove the existing sidewalk, evaluate the condition of the roots on the three trees to see how we can best improve the sidewalk over what is there now while retaining the trees.   Our next steps will be based on what we discover in the field and our evaluation of SSMT’s proposal. Portions of the sidewalk will be closed during this weekend’s repairs, which are expected to be completed on Sunday. SDOT crew members will be available to safely escort adjacent homeowners through the construction site if necessary.

We appreciate the community’s engagement in this project and your patience as we consider the additional resident input.

Since then, the MCC has been informed that SDOT has allocated funding to further study the Madrona tree issue.  The Madrona Community Council plans to host a community discussion with SDOT representatives and Madrona residents on or near January 8th, and encourages all interested to attend.  (Exact date and time to be confirmed.)

1/4/13 Update – Draft SDOT Scope of Work document now available

The SDOT has shared a draft of their “Scope of Work Addressing Tree/Sidewalk Conflicts” as part of a project to ” develop and formalize a toolkit of options to address conflicts between trees and sidewalks citywide. This operational plan will use the Madrona corridor as a case study for the application of those tools.”

You can find a copy of the document shared by SDOT with the MCC here:
 2013_0104_Draft Scope of Work