On two blocks of Jefferson Street at Fisherman’s Wharf, a line of 25 graceful trees soften the brick and asphalt and concrete. In a new $5 million beautification project where the sidewalk will be widened, these trees are to be felled. They will be replaced, in this plan, with lamp-posts with hanging flower-baskets.
There’s no reason these trees could not have been preserved. Instead of planning to conserve these trees, the Fisherman’s Wharf CBD used the opportunity to get rid of them.
They’re not gone yet. People are trying to save them.
We hope we succeed. If we do not, this site will be their memorial. They will not be forgotten.
It’s hard to believe that local businesses would actually support the felling of the trees, given that people are passionate about trees. Most folks don’t think of them as just an inconvenient thing on the sidewalk. Most people care about trees. We do intend to find out which of the businesses on this street support the felling, and which ones oppose it.
STOP PRESS! 21 trees saved!
At the SF DPW meeting this evening, we learned that owing to the huge public support for the activists working to save the trees, the project managers have gone back and modified the project. Only 4 trees will be removed. Three London Plane trees (sycamores) are in front of the Hotel Argonaut, and they need to have a passenger drop-off zone that is also ADA accessible. One pittosporum is in the way of some construction. In recompense, four new trees will be planted somewhere in Fishermans Wharf, though probably not on Jefferson St. Three more trees may be in poor condition and will be monitored. Kathy Hallinan, who was a leading activist in this effort, will be in the working group making tree decisions.
At the meeting, the San Francisco Forest Alliance, the Sierra Club, and lepidopterist Liam O’Brien all expressed their support for retaining the trees, as did a number of individuals.
EDITED TO ADD: This was too optimistic. Apparently 4 of the 7 London Plane trees are to be felled, right at the time they would be hosting over-wintering pupae of the Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly. (That would be most of the trees visible in the picture above, starting with the cars to the right side of the picture.) Another 6 trees are to be cut down, and replaced with saplings, for a total of 10 trees.
There are more details at the website of the San Francisco Forest Alliance: Jefferson Street Trees Update. We are meeting with the relevant officials to try and save the trees, at least until after the butterfly overwintering season. We will post updates here when we have more information.
EDITED TO ADD (2): Following meetings with SF DPW, we’ve accepted the decision and will not be appealing it. While it is not quite as good as we had hoped, it is a vast improvement on clear-cutting Jefferson Street. The details of the final decision are HERE.
HERE is Kathy Hallinan’s heartfelt thank-you note to everyone who helped, everyone who signed the petition.
FIVE THINGS YOU CAN DO
Thank you notes!
Director, San Francisco Department of Public Works, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 348, San Francisco, CA 94102, or fax to 415-554-6944, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org — this should ideally be by 5:00 p.m. on the day prior to the hearing (which is Monday August 27, 2012). But even after that date, you can still write.
2. Write to the Fisherman’s Wharf CBD.
Troy Campbell, Executive Director, Fisherman’s Wharf CBD
2801 Leavenworth St. STE B-16
San Francisco CA 94133
3. Leave a comment on the Fisherman’s Wharf Facebook fan-page.
You can also try leaving a comment on their official Facebook page,
but it will probably get deleted.
4. If you’re visiting Jefferson Street businesses –
ask them if they support the tree-felling. Thank them for saving the trees. Let them know you care.
5. Sign the online petition… [NO LONGER NEEDED! THANKS TO THE NEARLY 200 PEOPLE WHO SIGNED!]