July 20, 2017
Additional $16 million in funding brings total to $21.75 million to conduct inspections and fix more sidewalks
NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio today appeared with NYC Parks Queens Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski to highlight NYC Parks’ Trees and Sidewalks program, which helps homeowners repair severe sidewalk damage caused by the root growth of street trees. Trees and Sidewalks received an additional $15.75 million this year, bringing the total to $21.75 million in funding in the FY18 budget, and more than tripling the previous year’s $6 million allotment.
“Our nearly 700,000 street trees beautify our neighborhoods, clean our air, and cool our environment. But as they grow, trees can also come into conflict with city sidewalks, creating inconvenient or even dangerous conditions. Trees and Sidewalks supports homeowners by assisting them with sidewalk repairs – and this significant funding increase will make this program even more powerful,” said Mayor de Blasio.
“Loving New York means loving our trees and our sidewalks. And true to its name, the Trees and Sidewalks program improves both, providing crucial aid to homeowners and supporting the strength of our urban forest. Over $20 million will bring smoother sidewalks and healthier trees to homeowners, pedestrians, and tree-lovers all over New York City,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP.
At today’s event, part of City Hall in Your Borough in Queens, Mayor de Blasio and Borough Commissioner Lewandowski met with Flushing resident Peter Kyriakakis to examine the damaged sidewalk outside his house. Mr. Kyriakakis’s sidewalk is slated for repair as part of the Trees and Sidewalks program.
Trees and Sidewalks is offered to owner-occupied one-, two-, and three-family homes not used for commercial purposes. Homeowners may request to enlist in the program by calling 311 or filling out an online form. NYC Parks foresters then examine the site and assign it a priority rating based on criteria including the vertical lift of the sidewalk, the number of damaged flagstones, the volume of traffic on and width of the sidewalk, and tree condition. Repairs may include tree bed expansion, adjustment of sidewalk grade, strengthening sidewalk materials, and improving drainage.
Assembly Member Edward C. Braunstein said, "Northeast Queens residents frequently encounter problems with trees that have damaged the sidewalk in front of their homes, creating a hazardous condition for pedestrians. This increase in funding to the Trees and Sidewalks program will ensure that NYC Parks has the resources necessary to respond to broken sidewalks in a more timely manner.”
Assembly Member Michael Dendekker said, "Damaged sidewalks due to restrictions in tree bed areas have plagued Queens communities for years. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for significantly increasing funding directly for this purpose. As part of an ever widening Vision Zero plan, pedestrian safety while walking on sidewalks is paramount to assist in the reduction of Trip and Fall incidents that often result in serious injuries.”
"This funding will go a long way towards providing relief to homeowners whose sidewalks have been damaged by growing tree roots, as well as improving safety for pedestrians throughout Queens," said Council Member Paul Vallone. "This has been a concern for many of my constituents and now the Parks Department is better equipped to address these concerns in a quick and efficient manner."