Residents upset over 'hazardous' trees

November 12, 2011 8:22:02 PM PST
Planting trees is great for the environment, but some northeast Houston residents have a problem with where some trees were planted in their neighborhood.

They say the trees in medians along Wayside and Tidwell are creating a hazard for drivers.

"[The trees] block the view," Margaret Bernard said. "You don't know what's coming."

Bernard said the trees are causing a lot of accidents, including one in her front yard.

"Right here. She stopped right there," Bernard said, describing the crash. "And I'm saying 'oh, Lord,' you know?"

The trees block the view of children crossing the road and drivers turning into oncoming traffic.

You may wonder why someone doesn't just cut them down. Well, they can't.

"We are allowed to cut around it, but not through it or cut the actual trees down for whatever reason," resident Christopher Williams said.

The trees were planted by the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department Urban Forestry Division. The designated natural areas are labeled "Do not mow."

According to the parks and recreation department website, "No-Mow Zones" are designed to promote the natural regeneration of the urban forest. The areas have been planned and intentionally placed.

"I would like to see that project taken away. It's dangerous," Williams said.

For Williams and his neighbors, whose daily commute is interrupted by these trees, removing them is the only way to curb the number of accidents they've already seen and prevent more from happening in the future.

"They need to take them down. Because if they shorten them, they're going to just grow back up and block the view again," Williams said.

According to the Green Houston website, the Urban Forestry Division in partnership with Trees For Houston's volunteer tree planting program have planted more than 14,000 trees over the last three years.

The site also states that "trees that have been identified as hazardous are targeted for removal" after the inventory is completed in an area. "Additionally, future tree planting spaces are recorded and plantings can be scheduled with community groups to aid in preserving Houston's urban forest for future generations to enjoy."

Residents say they have contacted the city about the trees they deem hazardous, but nothing has been done.

A spokesperson for the parks and recreation department said she couldn't answer our questions about the trees. They assured us they would look into the issue on Monday. We'll keep you posted.

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