By Gina Martinez
Bayside residents are concerned about the condition of city trees in their community, a new survey shows.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) announced the results of a constituent survey regarding residents’ feelings on the condition of city trees in front of their homes. Last month, Avella’s office surveyed 1,250 homeowners in his district, asking them to evaluate the condition of city trees in front of their property or on their block. According to Avella, the results showed an overwhelming concern on the part of residents for the safety of their families and homes because of the condition of a tree near their home.
The survey revealed that two-thirds of respondents said they felt unsafe due to the condition of the trees in front of their home, which Avella has called “unacceptable.” The survey also showed that three-quarters of respondents think their trees are either overgrown, dangerous or need to be removed.
Avella has been vocal for years in the fight to reform the way the city addresses tree issues across all boroughs. He has also written legislation in the state Legislature that would seek to establish a task force to evaluate the Parks Department’s policies on tree maintenance.
Avella said one of the more disheartening results of the survey found 71 percent of residents were completely unaware of the city’s “Tree and Sidewalk Repair Program.” The program, which comes at no cost to homeowners, shifts the burden of responsibility for damaged sidewalks due to city tree roots back to the city for repairs. Two-thirds of respondents said that even though a city tree has damaged their sidewalk, less than 30 percent even knew of the program’s existence, according to Avella.
He said the city has to do a better job of informing homeowners of the free services available to them to remedy tree issues.
“For a long time, I have felt that the city of New York and DPR have inadequately addressed the concerns of residents who had issues with a tree in front of their property,” he said. “Because of this survey, I now have the numbers to prove that what I have feared is actually true. Residents have legitimate safety concerns due to a failed job by our city to maintain trees,”
Avella said the results of the survey clearly show that the city needs to do a better job of addressing residents’ requests for tree pruning and removals. According to the survey, 69 percent of residents said that their trees were not satisfactorily pruned.
“It is clear as day that residents are not being listened to, and are certainly not having their concerns taken seriously by this administration,” he said. “This is absolutely unacceptable and clearly it isn’t just me who feels this way. We need the city to fix their approach to these basic quality-of-life issues so that we can live without the fear of a strong wind being able to knock a tree onto our homes,” added Avella.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart