PRESS RELEASE: Cherokee Street Trees Saved From Removal

Los Angeles -- Today, Councilmember Ryu announced a report from the Bureau of Street Services that outlines a plan to save 14 mature trees that were slated for removal to complete sidewalk repairs on Cherokee Avenue in Hollywood. The report comes after a contentious battle over the fate of the trees, including demonstrations, a court injunction, and an initial report in the summer from the Bureau that stated all 18 trees on Cherokee Avenue had to be removed in order to fix the sidewalks.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

December 6, 2018

Contact:

Estevan Montemayor

estevan.montemayor@lacity.org

213.605.4145

 

Cherokee Street Trees Saved From Removal

14 of 18 Mature Trees Will be Spared During Sidewalk Repair

Los Angeles -- Today, Councilmember Ryu announced a report from the Bureau of Street Services that outlines a plan to save 14 mature trees that were slated for removal to complete sidewalk repairs on Cherokee Avenue in Hollywood. The report comes after a contentious battle over the fate of the trees, including demonstrations, a court injunction, and an initial report in the summer from the Bureau that stated all 18 trees on Cherokee Avenue had to be removed in order to fix the sidewalks.

“When I was first told that all 18 of these beautiful, mature trees had to be removed to fix the broken sidewalks on Cherokee Avenue, I thought ‘there must be a better way.’ We cannot pit sidewalk repair against protecting our urban canopy,” Councilmember Ryu said. “This report makes clear - we can do both.”

In April of this year, the Bureau of Street Services informed the Office of Councilmember Ryu that it would be completing sidewalk repair on a stretch of Cherokee Avenue in Hollywood between Fountain and Lexington Avenues to make the sidewalk compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA. In order to complete the work, the Bureau initially determined that all 18 mature laurel ficus trees, some of which had been growing for over 80 years, would have to be cut down. The Board of Public Works reached the same determination in July after the decision was appealed.

However, after a court injunction put the final decision of removal to City Council, Councilmember Ryu worked with the Bureau of Street Services, which oversees the Urban Forestry Division, and their new General Manager Adel Hagekhalil on a creative solution. At the same time, Councilmember Ryu introduced three motions with Councilmember Bob Blumenfield to reform the City’s relationship to its urban forest, increase staffing and expertise at the Urban Forestry Division, and develop a long-range strategy for the City’s urban forest, among other measures.

“The Bureau of Street Services, along with our partners at the Bureau of Engineering, are committed to maintaining our existing street trees and planting more to increase our urban tree canopy and enhance the quality of life in our communities,” General Manager Adel Hagekhalil said. “Saving the 14 trees on Cherokee Avenue demonstrates how we can balance providing safe and accessible sidewalks with preserving our precious healthy trees.”  

Today’s report outlines a plan to utilize a combination of root pruning, tree trimming and reduction in the sidewalk width as allowable by the ADA, which will allow for the sidewalk to be repaired and 14 of the trees to remain without any loss of parking. The four trees still marked for removal have caused significant damage to the sidewalk and cannot be pruned without putting the neighborhood at risk. The report now heads to City Council for approval.

The City of Los Angeles has the largest urban forest in the nation, but a number of challenges, including a lack of funding and staff in the Urban Forestry Division, has made City trees more vulnerable to disease, death and removal.

“I am so grateful to the Bureau of Street Services and General Manager Adel Hagekhalil for working with me to find a creative solution that fixes our sidewalk, allows for street parking, and saves as many trees as possible,” Councilmember Ryu added. “These are the kinds of things our City can achieve when we aim high, put our heads together, and prioritize our communities’ quality of life.”

Read the report here.

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Los Angeles City Councilmember David E. Ryu represents the 4th Council District which includes Griffith Park, Sherman Oaks, Toluca Lake, Hollywood, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Miracle Mile, Hancock Park, Windsor Square, Larchmont and portions of Koreatown and Van Nuys.


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