Not all the threatened trees in San Francisco are in our parks. San Franciscans have been dismayed to find that many of the SFMTA road improvements seem to have been designed with no thought for the mature trees that are so important in reducing pollution, sequestering carbon, and providing habitat. We’ve written about these before HERE. Now the Van Ness Project is imminent, and the neighbors are fighting to save these trees. Here’s an article by Chris Parkes.
“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.”
– William Blake, The Letters, 1799
Van Ness Trees on Death Row by Chris Parkes
Please call SF Supervisors Today!
In just a few days, most of the trees in the center of Van Ness will begin disappearing in the middle of the night.
Many sidewalk trees will follow. In all, nearly 200 trees, many 50 yrs old or 50 ft tall, will be cut down. Eventually they will be replaced by saplings as two car lanes on Hwy 101 are permanently converted to bus-only lanes as part a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.
What are we getting? Even if you ride the bus all the way from Market to Lombard, your typical ride today is 15-19 minutes. How much time will you save for this huge expense? 3 minutes? 2 minutes? Less?
What else will we get? Traffic jams, increased fumes. Loss of half-century old trees.
The elderly and disabled will need to board the bus from a narrow median in the middle of a congested highway.
Please ask SF Supervisors for a ballot measure to let voters decide this. Let’s save our limited transit funds for better projects, such as a modern subway system.
Many were unaware of this project until the city posted signs on trees last year, only to learn it was then too late to change.
As this project unfolds or unravels, please call and leave a voicemail for your SF city supervisor TODAY, and often, to let them know what YOU think of it. If on the other hand you are ok with it, or do nothing, you will be pleased and comforted to know that there are many more similar projects that are already in the pipeline and that will soon become unalterable.
When the Van Ness project was first conceived, it was estimated to cost $60 – $65 million. Now the scope and cost estimate has blossomed to exceed $300 million, and ground has not even broken. Costs will continue to rise as changes mount.
Play a role in your city’s future. Please call your supervisor today.
As Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax once said: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”