Brownsville residents urge NYC to handle overgrown trees wrecking neighborhood sidewalks

One resident, Jo, told News 12 that a tree that was planted in front of her house on Herzl Street many years ago is now breaking down her sidewalk.

Jan 16, 2023, 6:57 PM

Updated 517 days ago

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Residents in Brownsville say they are fed up with overgrown tree roots wrecking the sidewalks in their neighborhood and are urging the city to help. 
One resident, Jo, told News 12 that a tree that was planted in front of her house on Herzl Street many years ago is now breaking down her sidewalk.  
“The roots are growing out into the street, the curb, underneath the curb…the tree itself is growing so large that we have wires above, wires that are going through the limbs of the tree,” she says. 
Jo says she's been trying to combat the effects of the tree's overgrowing roots since 2007. 
She says it initially took the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation three years to do something about it.
Jo says the department fixed the sidewalk in 2010, but no upkeep has been done in 13 years and the tree is uprooting the sidewalk again in 2023. 
She says her biggest worry is that people walking by might not see the broken pavement.
“The sidewalk had cracked in half, and I was painting in orange so that nobody would fall," she says. 
Thelma Green lives across the street and has a similar issue with her tree's roots, except her contractor says the trees are also impacting her sewage line.
“Someone put a camera down there and they said it's the tree roots that's doing it,” she says. “I called the city...they gave me a number for a contractor, and I have to pay for it."
The Parks Department told News 12 in a statement, “We most recently inspected this tree, a silver linden, in November 2022, and it was found to be in fair condition. The sidewalk was previously repaired by the trees and sidewalks program in June 2017 and last inspected in March 2022, where it was found to have a sidewalk rating under 80, which does not merit repair. It will be reinspected again in 2025."
However, the residents of Herzl Street say the cycle of the destructive roots has started all over again and they are tired of putting their own money into the problem.


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