96 Trees Along Ambaum Blvd. SW Have Been Marked For Death By City
Driving through Burien this morning, many motorists may have noticed large “X’s” marked on dozens of trees along Ambaum Blvd. SW, starting around SW 140th and continuing on and off to around SW 112th.
At first we thought that perhaps these were just taggings from one-half of the dreaded new “Tic Tac Toe” gang. We shivered in anticipation: would we be seeing other trees marked “O” tomorrow? And who ultimately would win this contest?
However, once we saw construction crews by SW 112th working near trees that were also marked, our comical internal voice was quickly shuttered when we had a cold realization:
Could these marked trees be (gulp), marked for Death?
We asked Jenn Ramirez Robson, management analyst for the City of Burien, who confirmed our suspicions:
Sidewalk and curb improvements along Ambaum are part of our larger 2010/2011 Overlay Program. The idea is to get this work done before we begin paving Ambaum between SW 112th and SW 156th next year. We knew that some number of trees would need to be replaced due to the damage caused to the sidewalks. This week a landscape architect went through with project planners and marked the trees with a white “X” on those that would require replacement. A total of 96 trees were identified.
The trees that are currently in placed are called London Plane. One gardening source I found said this:
The London Plane tree is a hybrid of the American and Oriental Plane tree and is particularly well adapted to urban conditions. This handsome tree needs plenty of space to grow and is suitable for large properties only.
These trees were planted 20-30 years ago before much was known about what kind of trees might work well around sidewalks and pavement. The roots from these trees grow close to the surface and wreak all sorts of havoc. In the case of Ambaum Boulevard, the roots have not only buckled sidewalks but they have also pushed out curbs and have begun to grow up and out from the street itself. Because the roots are causing damage in so many directions cutting the problem roots would not leave enough stability for the tree. It should also be noted that the trees are too old and established to be transferred to another location. The trees will be removed sometime before the end of the year. They will be replaced with one of the following in the spring:
- Pyrus calleryana ‘Glen’s Form’/ Chanticleer Pear
- Tilia cordata ‘Corzam’/ Corinthian Linden
- Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’/ Pyramidal European Hornbeam
For more information about road construction in Burien people can:
On Oct. 22nd, we had posted the following info about the Ambaum construction project:
Curb and Sidewalk Improvements on Ambaum Blvd
Construction crews have begun improvements to curbs and sidewalks on Ambaum Boulevard beginning at SW 112th and working their way south to SW 156th St. The right lane may be closed for short periods of time to accommodate the work. This work should take 4-6 weeks. During the same period, or directly following, crews will do the same type of work starting at SW 156th and work their way north to SW 112th. The City is working closely with Metro Transit to minimize impacts for bus riders.
Sadly, no word of the destruction of 96 big trees had ever been mentioned on the city’s website, nor in any recorded “Burien Alert” robocalls. Many of these trees provide excellent fall colors in a sort of umbrella-like pattern over a significant portion of Ambaum Blvd. SW, and we, for one, will be saddened to see them go.
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