Heavy rain is putting residents at risk

By John Amato

As a concerned citizen who lives in Fresh Meadows, I am very worried about what is happening to our trees after all of this recent heavy rain, which has totaled nearly a foot since mid-July, causing extremely saturated soils all across the area.

During the last few weeks, it should be made known that in Kissena Park, there was a large lateral limb that snapped and fell from an oak tree. In Cunningham Park, another large lateral limb snapped and fell from a cherry tree. Also, at the intersection of 188th Street and 64th Avenue, another very large lateral limb snapped from an oak tree.

Between Union Turnpike and 73rd Avenue in Fresh Meadows there were large lateral limbs that snapped from two trees — one, a huge poplar tree located near the baseball fields, as well as another that snapped from an oak tree right past a pedestrian bridge, right on the grass beside the northbound lanes of Francis Lewis Boulevard.

Finally, there was an oak tree that completely fell onto the entrance of that same bridge over Francis Lewis Boulevard, which was immediately cut up, since its branches were blocking the bridge.

Since the ground is completely saturated due to the recent rain, the stability of some trees in our parks and playgrounds that were already in a weakened state due to other external problems such as fungal growth, insect infestation, or aging could very easily be compromised. Healthy trees could be at risk, too.

It is time for city Parks Department Commissioner Mitchell Silver to issue a public advisory so pedestrians avoid walking under or near heavily wooded areas in the parks and playgrounds throughout the entire city as a precaution to avoid possible serious injury, since there could very well be some trees within the forested areas that could lose branches or possibly fall due to the extremely wet, saturated ground.

I hope the commissioner will put out a public alert with regard to this situation, which could turn tragic should anyone be struck and injured, or even killed by a falling branch or falling tree. The people of this city have every right to know about this potentially dangerous situation, and must be informed immediately!

John Amato

Fresh Meadows

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