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Queens Chronicle

Deadly city trees

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Posted: Thursday, November 8, 2012 10:30 am

Dear Editor:

Hurricanes Sandy and Irene have proven that New York City has underestimated the destruction of unmaintained trees in our city. Sandy has caused millions of dollars in damage, with homes destroyed and 41 deaths, many caused by fallen trees.

Operators with 311 have been instructed not to take any calls pertaining to damaged or dead trees. They will not take any tree reports.

A large part of the damage to our homes, streets and power lines was due to city trees that have not been pruned, removed or maintained for many, many years due to lack of funds for this purpose. Yet the mayor’s goal for the city has been to plant one million new trees. The priority should be maintaining existing trees, not planting new ones.

Trees fall, basements flood, utility lines fall, telephone lines and power lines are without service for days even weeks — yet the Parks commissioner does not accept phone calls or 311 reports about trees.

The mayor has to recognize that the tree problem is at a dangerous level in the boroughs. There are hundreds of trees in need of pruning or removal. They cause death when they fall on people. Our priorities should be to save lives and homes and prevent power failures.

The Parks Department budget must be realistic so it can do its job and prevent future damage similar to the damage caused by Irene and Sandy.

Nick Pennachio

The writer is a member of Community Board 4.

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