1:32 PM: Back in mid-April, we were first to report on a neighborhood campaign to save the chestnut tree shown above, on private property but in the path of a public project – a curb ramp to help people crossing SW Fontanelle on the east side of Fauntleroy Way, just north of Solstice Park. Its roots had grown under the sidewalk. In late April, as reported here, the city arborist came out for a look, and said they would determine within a few weeks whether the tree could be saved. Today, we have word from SDOT that they’ve found a way. From spokesperson Ethan Bergerson:
We are pleased to share that we have found a solution which will allow us to repair the sidewalk and build an accessible curb ramp at the corner of Fauntleroy Way SW and SW Fontanelle St without removing any trees.
We have heard from many community members who were concerned about the possibility that this tree might have to be removed as a part of our curb ramp project to improve accessibility in this neighborhood. While SDOT had never determined that it would be necessary to remove the tree, we are glad that we were able to find a solution which maintains the health of this tree and resolves the community’s concerns.
Our updated curb ramp design will allow us to build a new parallel/corner curb ramp with minimal tree root trimming that should not harm the tree. SDOT worked closely with Seattle Public Utilities, which will relocate the fire hydrant near the chestnut tree at the northeast corner of Fauntleroy Way SW and SW Fontanelle St. The new location for the fire hydrant will continue to provide the same level of fire protection for the neighborhood, and allow us to build a new curb bulb to make room for a curb ramp that meets ADA standards without harming the tree.
We anticipate completing this curb ramp work in the next two to three weeks, depending on weather conditions. Our contractor is scheduled to begin excavation work to decommission the existing fire hydrant and install a new fire hydrant as soon as Friday June 3.
Relocating the fire hydrant requires a temporary water outage, which is scheduled for 8 a.m. to noon on Monday, June 6. Impacted customers have been notified by SPU, and more information about the planned water outage can be found on SPU’s Water Outage Map.
We will continue with sidewalk demolition work followed by concrete pouring throughout next week. We will perform some minimal tree root trimming as we remove existing sidewalks to prepare for the concrete pour. We will have our urban forestry team on site to help monitor this work and ensure the health of the tree.
We’re checking with the resident who led the fight to save the tree and will add her comment when we have it.
1:59 PM: That resident, Sara Macko, says, “I am incredibly overjoyed that we could all come together and keep this corner of the world beautiful and sustainable for our environment!” She’s grateful to everyone who joined in the effort, and to the city reps who worked with her, and adds, “We taught a 9 year old girl, Piper, that if you believe in something, work hard at it, and bring your peers and neighbors together, you can make your dream a reality! I am beyond thrilled.” She hopes to host a celebration, soon, with her band playing, next door at Solstice Park, “an opportunity to bring our West Seattle community together to thank them all for their support, and to rejoice near our infamous tree.”
ADDED FRIDAY AFTERNOON: Regarding the cost, SDOT’s Bergerson says, “A preliminary rough estimate is that this may add as much as $35,000 – $45,000 to the project, including both SDOT’s and SPU’s costs.”