R.I.P South Park Tree. A long saga is over. The notorious narrow humped passage around the tree in the Duwamish Trail is gone. The trail is back to its full, not-so-wide width. It is flat and paved where there was a hazardous obstacle.
This cottonwood had been growing into the trail and getting worse for 13 years, by some accounts. Al Jackson, Bill Gobie and others from WSBC really pushed over the past 7 months to get SDOT to eliminate this hazard and restore the trail. We thank SDOT for doing it, and getting it paved immediately.
We hope that it will not take this much pushing in the future when there is an obvious hazard encroaching into the bike and pedestrian part of a busy street right-of-way.
We know that after every windstorm the fallen trees blocking traffic lanes are removed within hours, and dangerous leaning trees are cut down. We also see that sometimes fallen trees just stay in the bike lanes and across trails and sidewalks for days, even on bike thoroughfares like Dexter Ave N this year.
We saw this past winter that the vehicle traffic lane was promptly repaired when the South Park tree roots started humping that pavement, while the trail remained in its dangerous condition. We know that trees are not allowed to sprout and grow in the vehicle traffic lanes anywhere. And we wonder if this condition would ever be allowed to continue so long in wealthier, whiter neighborhoods than South Park?
We hope that it is starting to sink in that multi-use paths and trails and bike lanes are traffic lanes, too, equally important for the people using them to get to work, school, home, to and from all the places people in cars and trucks are going?