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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Open Letter to Shoreline City Council - Signature Trees Cut on 15th NE

We are pleased to host a guest blog post from Ken Winnick, who lives nearby the site of the tree cutting this week at one of Shoreline's "Gateways".  The Gateway is now seriously marred by the actions the City took without any notice to citizens in the community. An impromptu "protest vigil" was held Tuesday to stand up for the remaining London Plane Tree that is slated to be cut.

The trees were a joy to see as you entered Shoreline at this otherwise dull, industrial/commercial district.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent by the City to build "gateways" at other entrances to the Shoreline, on fancy signage and shrubbery. Millions of dollars are being spent on Aurora on pedestrian improvements with street trees and medians. And yet here in the SE Subarea, the chainsaw is king and asphalt is growing instead of trees!

Photo credit - Ken Winnick
View from Eastside of 15th (next to Goodwill where another huge London Plan Tree was cut)
Center median is site of another large London Plane Tree cut yesterday. Public Works seems to be removing the median which DID give some shelter to pedestrians at the cross walk.

Dear Mayor & City Council Members,

I've attached a photograph of the tree on 15th Ave NE, next to Earl's Garage.  This is the last tree that the road department had intended to cut down, but which is now under reconsideration.  The photo was taken today from the Goodwill parking lot.

I ask you to take a look at the tree, and after a moment you will see what is behind the tree... a very large cell tower!  From the corner of 145th & 15th, you can look up 15th into our "Gateway to Shoreline", and currently you'll see the two remaining street trees that were not cut.  If this particular tree is cut down, what will you see?  
A large and unsightly cell tower.  Would that be an appropriate welcome sign to Shoreline?  This is easily viewed from Goodwill or from the northbound bus stop at 145th & 15th.

I'm still a just a little bit flummoxed that the public works department failed to coordinate with the planning department on this project, or that if they did no one took into consideration such an obvious issue like view-shed protection, among others.

On a related matter, I was told by the baristas at the coffee shop (behind the bus in the photo), that elderly folks walking on the sidewalk often stopped in the shade of these trees to get a break from the heat during the summer.  As it now stands, this lone tree is the only real shade between Earls and 151st Street, probably about 1/2 mile up the street.

Hopefully we will all soon be engaged in a planning process that takes these issues into account.  For the record, I'd like to make these few initial suggestions:

1) The City review both the ADA code and the appropriate codes for street lane widths.  If either or both could allow a ~2-3 inch deviance, this entire matter would become a non-issue because the tree could stay  (Jesus mentioned that the main problem here was sidewalk width).

2) The City evaluate purchasing the small, mostly unused portion of land immediately west of the tree.  This might allow the sidewalk to be routed around back.  This solution might also require Earl's to modify ingress and egress from his property.  Perhaps we could even think of connecting this with the small park immediately adjacent to the cell tower (on land leased by the coffee shop), to create a small refuge adjacent to a nursing home, and along an otherwise long and uninviting stretch of asphalt.  Now that would be a wonderful, high quality option!

Thank you,
Ken Winnick

PS--Mayor, could you please acknowledge receipt of this email?  Thank you.

1 comment:

  1. I hope your letter was received, since it deserved to be heard. City corruption is nothing to joke about.

    -Samudaworth Tree Service