In late June, Mayor Ed Murray announced his Summer of Safety Initiative. The initiative sets up a coordinated approach to public safety across city departments that will mobilize resources to change our built environment, activate our streets and provide jobs for our youth and young adults. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is one of the key departments actively involved in the initiative.
Over the summer, SDOT has focused on two areas to help implement the initiative. Today we will talk about the work done by SDOT’s Urban Forestry Division as part of the Summer of Safety Initiative. SDOT’s Urban Forestry Division is charged with overseeing the more than 40,000 trees in the public right-of-way (ROW) and maintaining the 123 acres of landscapes that relate to the transportation system. How do they work to improve public safety you ask? Well, through tree pruning, especially around street lights, and landscape management. These activities make a street safer for the public by providing few places for criminal activity and creating more inviting streets. They also make the streets safer for kids, as they walk to or back from school or wait for school buses. Bridging the Gap transportation levy, passed by Seattle voters in 2006, has been key in allowing SDOT to prune more than 23,000 trees, plant more than 5,500 trees and maintain street landscapes across the city.
Through the first five Find it, Fix it walks Urban Forestry identified and completed tree pruning along several corridors in southeast Seattle. Work included:
- Pruned more than 26 trees along 22nd Avenue South between South Jackson Street and Yesler.
- Pruned 100 trees on 28th and 29th Avenue South between South Jackson Street and South Dearborn Street.
- SDOT owned landscapes at MLK Way and South Orcas were maintenance was needed. Threes were pruned and mulched.
- Urban Forestry pruned trees along MLK Way and South Othello to improve lighting.
- Urban Forestry worked successfully with Firestone to prune their oak trees on all three sides of their building.
- Near the Rainer Transit Station SDOT supported Seattle Public Utilities ReLeaf efforts.
- SDOT crews also pruned trees in Hillman city and cleaned up landscapes along Rainier Avenue South.
This work was identified by SDOT staff and in many cases by folks who attended the Find it, Fix it walks that were held in the Rainier Valley. The original five walks were so successful that additional walks were added for late August and September. Each of these Community Safety Walks will help residents identify safety issues present in the built environment of Seattle’s neighborhoods. SeSeattle residents are invited to attend one of the walks being hosted by the City. Department Representatives will be on hand to answer questions and serve as resources for residents.
There are two more opportunities for you to participate:
- September 11: International District (begins at Hing Hay Park – 423 Maynard Ave S.)
- September 17: Capitol Hill (details being finalized)
If you have questions or would like more information about the SDOT Urban Forestry Tree Program, please, visit Urban Forestry’s website. In addition, if you have concerns about specific trees in your neighborhood, please call the citywide tree line at: (206) 684-TREE (8733)
If you would like additional information on BTG please visit their website.