Queens, NY – Today, State Senator Tony Avella announced the results of a constituent survey regarding how unsafe residents feel about the condition of New York City trees in front of their homes.
The 1,250 responses, which came as no surprise to Senator Avella, showed an overwhelming concern from residents for the safety of their families and homes in the City because of the condition of a tree in front of their property or on their block.
Since before he even held elected office, Senator Avella has been a strong voice in the community fighting to reform the broken way the City addresses tree issues throughout the city. Senator Avella has also written legislation in the State Legislature (S1571) that would establish a task force to evaluate DPR’s policies on tree maintenance.
Two-thirds of respondents said they felt unsafe about the condition of the tree in front of their home, which, as the Senator noted in his letter to respondents, is unacceptable. Additionally, approximately three-quarters of respondents indicated that their tree is either overgrown, dangerous, or needs removal.
Unfortunately, this survey also showed that an overwhelming 71% of residents are completely unaware of the City’s “Tree and Sidewalk Repair Program” which, at no cost to the homeowner, shifts the burden of responsibility for damaged sidewalks due to City tree roots back to the City for repairs. Even though roughly two-thirds of respondents indicated that a City tree has damaged their sidewalk, less than 30% knew of this program’s existence.
Clearly, the survey results show, the City needs to do a better job of addressing residents’ requests for tree pruning and removals. The City must also do a better at informing homeowners of the City 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. 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,” said Senator Avella.
“When 69% of people say 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. 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 Senator Avella.
The survey, conducted over the last month, was sent to homeowners throughout parts of Senator Avella’s Northeast Queens District and asked for them to take a few moments to evaluate the condition of City trees in front of their property or on their block.