Paved Over For Parking (Image Source: MapJack.com)
District 11 Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval’s legislation empowering Planning Department inspectors to issue citations for having an illegally paved-over front yard (or other planning code violations) has received initial approval by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

The motivation is usually to gain an extra parking space, but Sandoval said the violation reduces the beauty of the neighborhood. Also, he said, when the rain has no place to go, it will flow into The City’s storm drains, putting the area at risk to flooding.

The questions remain, will the inspectors start citing and will property owners actually respond without a bigger stick (the maximum fine of $500 is peanuts relative to the value of a parking space in the city).
Forget About The In-Law, What If The Parking Is (Was) Unwarranted? [SocketSite]
Supes approve fine for paving over front yard [Examiner]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    Unless they can continue to fine an offender for returning the illegal parking space to it’s ‘green’ condition this isn’t going to stop anyone from ‘de-greening’ their front yard.
    In a city that is supposed to be so progressive and green there is an amazing amount of cement covering the sidewalks. On residential streets in Chicago there is a sidewalk next to the building but there is a green strip between the sidewalk and the street. it makes a huge difference on the appearance of the neighborhood and the has the added benefit of catching and filtering run off form the side walks and helps keep the neighborhood, at least appear cleaner, since dog walkers who do a poor job of cleaning up after their pets have a little bit of grass and soil helping to break down what they refused to pick up.
    Does anyone know if I went out to the sidewalk and took a sledge hammer to the some of the pavers between my building and the street and planted some grass what the fine would be?

  2. Posted by misha

    The city is looking for ways to make money. I wonder how much will it cost to undo the de-greening of the sidewalk? I bet one will have to hire a licensed contractor to do that kind of work.

  3. Posted by Noe 94131

    The city has a sidewalk landscaping permit process that doesn’t seem too daunting.
    http://www.sfgov.org/site/sfdpw_index.asp?id=42766

  4. Posted by Kirk

    bear, you can apply to DPW for a landscaping permit to remove the cement and green your sidewalk, for just $215:
    http://www.sfgov.org/site/sfdpw_index.asp?id=42766
    DPW’s rules are pretty easy to follow, so why risk a fine?

  5. Posted by ex SF-er

    I’ve harped on this before.
    SF is one of the least green cities in America for precisely this reason.
    Other places with similar density are far more green than SF, such as Chicago and even Manhattan (excluding the business district)
    There are very few ares of SF that have tree-lined streets and quaint yards.
    a pity.
    part of the reason for this is the poor city planning done in SF.
    In Chicago, many of the neighborhoods are more dense than in SF… so people don’t need cars. In those neighborhoods there are little to no garages… so no driveways. thus you park on the street or you take public transport or a cab (but it’s easier to take public transport in Chicago IMO)
    in other neighborhoods in Chicago they put in alleys. Alleys are great because all the garages are back there. Thus you don’t have the driveway problem again. so you can have 1 and 2 car garages easily, without disrupting the front of the house.
    and obviously other neigborhoods yet aren’t as dense so the driveway issue isn’t as big of a problem… but most of those neighborhoods are far far away from the core.
    in fact alleys seem to be more of a midwest thing… very rare in California.
    again, a pity, becuase it would be very difficult to retroactively put alleys in.

  6. Posted by ex SF-er

    That said, I have 2 suggestions that COULD really help San Francisco.
    1) there is no reason why we can’t have more TREES. Trees could even be put in the picture above without restricting the right of the owner to have a car there. I could easily get 4-5 trees in that picture alone
    2) green driveways. Again, I’m honestly surprised that SF is so behind the times with this stuff.
    Green driveways look great and are great. They also reduce runoff and you can park on them and they are obviously green
    an example:
    Example of green driveway
    of course, SF prides itself on being beautiful while really being ugly so I doubt that they’ll ever institute this.
    My example however could be put in place on this block, and you would have a TRANSFORMED block. It would actually be beautiful.
    and they don’t cost that much either.

  7. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Misha – I don’t know about cost but the demo work itself is not too hard to do. I’ve removed about 4 tons of sidewalk/driveway on several projects and found that it takes about a person-day of unskilled labor to remove 3 tons of concrete. Most driveways are about 4 inches thick so figure about 80 sq. ft. per ton. One person can clear a little over 200 sq. ft. in a day with just a sledge and a wheelbarrow, figuring in extra time to deal with the details. If you’ve got a long (8′ or so) pry bar, that can really speed up the job.
    That doesn’t figure in the time/cost to dispose of the stuff. Easiest is to just rent a debris box parked at the curb. I don’t know how much a debris box costs but I do know that concrete is one of the cheapest materials to dump at the landfill. Last time I did it was $15 for an entire pickup load.
    I hate excessive concrete use and rip the stuff out whenever I can. Glad to hear about this new regulation

  8. Posted by anoncomplainer

    Why don’t we have more alleys in San Francisco? Ex-SF-er is right about this. I have walked around the Lincoln Park and Andersonville neighborhoods of Chicago and they are a lot like San Francisco without the cars. The cars are hidden in back and the people get to enjoy the streetscapes. The density is charming with small yards and people walking and mixing everywhere in a Jane Jacobs dream come true. Why does that city have more trees than us since we have the better weather? If streets such as the one in the picture were not giant parking lots, I could see these neighborhoods being far more attractive to those of us who would not consider them otherwise.

  9. Posted by flaneur

    Trees would definitely improve this picture, but over time, they may cause a problem with all the overhead utility wires. The green strip between the sidewalk and the street, like they have in Chicago, would work very well with underground utilities…

  10. Posted by Jeffrey W. Baker

    You can say that again.

  11. Posted by location

    I’ve always wondered why the Sunset district was built without trees. It’s bad enough that they are under fog for 90% of the year. The lack of trees just adds to the feeling of desolation out there. Does anyone know if there were originally trees when all those rows of homes were built?

  12. Posted by jamie

    I love the trees and greenery, don’t get me wrong …. but there are some instances where trees are planted on already narrow sidewalks, hindering the mobility of folks (especially if you’re in a wheelchair). My case in point is the stretch of sidewalk in front of the 365 Main Street server co-location company at Harrison. I don’t know what fool decided to put trees in the 3′ or so of sidewalk left after the building set up a porch/ramp thing, but I’d like to take a sledgehammer to that porch/ramp thing to make for more space or get rid of the trees on that section of the block.
    Let’s hope for more common sense along with these rules…

  13. Posted by ex SF-er

    flaneur:
    in the midwest the utilities run through the alleys as well. solves lots of problems of ugliness.
    again,
    I know it’s probably not feasible to retroactively run alleys through SF.
    I guess it took a big fire to get it right in Chicago… so I’m not hoping for that in SF.
    I’m not sure how they do it in Manhattan: are there just no cars/no parking? Can’t compare SF to Manhattan though because SF is a tiny little village compared to Manhattan… there just isn’t the density or public transport infrastructure to make full no-car living feasible for MANY people. also many/most people living in Manhattan work in Manhattan, not sure the same applies for SF with Silicon Valley
    however, putting in “green” driveways and trees would help IMMENSELY.
    too much of SF is concrete wasteland. I’ve never been fortunate enough to live in a part of the city with lawns or green or trees or anything.
    SF would truly be beautiful if we de-concreted.

  14. Posted by Jeffrey W. Baker

    The ramp/porch object at 365 Main was an existing feature. It is/was a railroad freight loading platform.

  15. Posted by BRCGranny

    “there just isn’t the density or public transport infrastructure to make full no-car living feasible for MANY people”
    I don’t buy this. Legally, I can’t drive so I’ve been car free for all 41 years of my life. I live in the outer-sunset, and my son goes to school in the outer richmond. I’m able to get him to school and then to work (by the caltrain station) in about an hour.
    There are a number of shopping options within a 10 minute walk of my apartment, including a Safeway. While it is a pain in the butt to get cab pick-up out there, I rarely have troubles getting a cab home (2:00 am on the weekends excepted).
    San Francisco has the lowest per capita car ownership rate in the Bay Area. Muni moves 700,000 people day. People who say they can’t live without cars in SF aren’t trying.

  16. Posted by casual observer

    With regard to the lack of trees in the Sunset,
    I believe that a lot the Richmond and Sunset were originally sand dunes.

  17. Posted by PN

    I don’t mean this to be racist, but there are clearly some cultural values at play here. I would bet that if you stood on the roof of the yellow house in that picture that the interior of the block would also have more concrete than vegetation. Some people and/or cultures just prefer not to maintain green space. Concrete is so practical….
    That said, I’m all for the legislation. And I’ll bet that it’s never enforced.

  18. Posted by ex SF-er

    BRCGranny (love your name)
    I agree with you that it’s very possible to live in the city without a car depending on your situation. I’m only saying that it may not be as easy as Manhattan.
    My reasoning was only that a significant number of SF people live in SF but commute to the suburbs.
    whereas it seems like a much higher % of people who live in Manhattan work in Manhattan itself.
    the only reason I brought it up is because Manhattan is greener than SF is, but they also don’t have a lot of driveways. I conclude from this a lot of Manhattanites don’t have cars. Very different than much of SF… I was only hypothesizing why this might be the case…
    in the end, the big problem is that the SF style is Garage-in-the-front. thus pavement in the front.
    in Chicago they get around this by having alleyes with garages in the back
    in Manhattan they get around this by (I’m guessing) not having cars?

  19. Posted by Sleepiguy

    Here’s an interesting article from sf.curbed
    http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2008/03/13/bad_vibrations_western_nabes_object_to_trees.php
    Anyway, my 2 cents? The city should just plant trees regardless of neighborhood objections. Also, the power-line thing isn’t an excuse. Eventually, they’ll all be underground.

  20. Posted by Eric in SF

    I’d *love* to see more trees in SF but the cold hard reality is that:
    * Trees are high-maintenance the first 3-4 years they are planted. Our dry summers mean they need regular summer watering until they are established. This extends to even the species that are specifically adapted to a dry summer.
    * Property owners have liability for buckled sidewalks due to tree roots. There is no question this will eventually happen. Until products like those offered by Deep Root Partners (http://www.deeproot.com/) are ubiquitous, sidewalk buckling is an issue.

  21. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Eric – You are exaggerating on both points. Trees are not that hard to care for nor do they require much maintenance as they grow.
    As for watering, I’ve planted 5 to 15 gallon nursery trees is a much drier hotter climate than SF. I watered each for about 5 minutes every two weeks the first summer, gradually tapering off to no extra watering at all in about 6 years. By then the roots had found their own natural water source. So for the first 5 month hot and dry season I spent a total of maybe 3 hours with a hose in one hand and a beer in the other. Its tough work but someone’s gotta do it. That tapered off to no “work” after a few years
    Yes, some tree species have root structures that will lift and crack nearby concrete. For example liquidambar is notorious for sidewalk and curb destruction. The key is to choose a species that does not have this characteristic. There are hundreds to choose from. Just don’t go planting a giant sequoia or the like in the strip between the sidewalk and curb and you’ll be OK.
    Owning a tree is not entirely effortless. You’ll have to rake leaves for example. But the benefits of street trees far outweigh their liabilities so long as you make the right decisions.

  22. Posted by Sleepiguy

    I’m sure there are several native species of trees that are low-water, drought resistant, and slow growing. There is absolutely no excuse for not planting in some of SF’s most hideous neighborhoods.

  23. Posted by Eric in SF

    Milkshake – I took my comments from the data provided by the Friends of the Urban Forest:
    http://www.fuf.net/tree_care/watering.html
    They specifically indicate watering needs in the western neighborhoods are higher than normal due to the sandy soils.
    The Gallery of Urban Trees lists watering needs, generally going out 3 years:
    http://www.fuf.net/tree_plantings/gallery_of_urban_trees.html
    The FUF website doesn’t go into detail about what tree species are less prone to sidewalk buckling:
    http://www.fuf.net/tree_care/tree_sidewalk_issues.html
    Like I said I would *LOVE* to see more trees and I hate it when front yards are paved for parking. However, I completely understand why people are reticent to plant trees, independent of the desire for additional parking. It’s been my experience that finding SF neighborhoods where people are interested in the common good rather than their own time commitments or monetary commitments is hard.

  24. Posted by sf

    I concur with the concrete patio point. A ton of homes west of Masonic have flat paved back yards, to park cars, or to just leave extra trash lying around. Depressing and environmentally damaging, for sure. But when you own property in SF and live in Redwood City, a lot of landlords could give a sh!t less if their tenants don’t have a yard or trees in front. Cement is easier to maintain than a garden or yard!

  25. Posted by ex SF-er

    Eric:
    almost every other major city in America finds a way to put a tree in near the sidewalk except for Californian cities. and they do just fine.
    Moreso, there is somehow an ability to have trees and front gardens in the rich northern parts of the city, and also some houses down by lake merced, why not the rest? I also know there are trees in a lot of the San Franciscan suburbs as well.
    I’m looking out my window now. I see more than 10 trees, several have less than a 5ft x 5ft opening. we rarely have cracked concrete issues except for the Dutch Elms (which I don’t think will grow in SF but I know almost nothing about trees)
    we have about 30 trees on my block. in the past, all 30 were dutch elms. but my block was devastated by dutch elm disease so all the elms died, and new species were planted in the last 5 years. we went from 30 dutch elms on the block to 28 non-dutch elms and 2 dutch elms. of the 28 newly planted trees, none died. this is despite the fact that every year we have several stretches where it is 90+ degree with burning sun and no rain/humidity.
    (the old dutch elm cracked the sidewalk like crazy, but boy was it beautiful, and cost me maybe $200-300 to have the city fix it. they just came and put a circular concrete thing in.)
    I don’t recall ever doing anything for the two trees in front of my house, except watering them for a few minutes 2x a week when we have our hot season (which doesn’t happen in SF).
    but since I have a front garden it’s no extra work.
    now of course, it would be extra work for San Franciscans, because you don’t have front gardens or trees. You have concrete.

  26. Posted by Eric in SF

    Oh, something else I’ve noticed and it drives me crazy.
    Dog walkers.
    I’ve seen newly planted trees die in 3 months because every dog in the neighborhood pees on the tree. You ask the owner to please curb their dog and the responses range from pretending you’re not speaking to them to an irate verbal tirade.
    Everywhere I’ve seen nice front gardens have been neighborhoods where people can afford gardeners or gardening services.

  27. Posted by Usually Named

    Anyone who thinks that trees don’t have maintenance issues haven’t been through an “Urban Forestry” review. Yes, there’s a department by that name in SF.
    Trees are great, but San Francisco, as usual, makes it is such a pain in the ass to have them that it’s no wonder that people are paving greenery over. Any new tree becomes a new liability for the owner of the property (witness the McGoldrick shenanigans on trees in your backyard).
    If SF wants to mandate trees — then let’s have SF maintain them so the public understands the cost of greenery. Talk about unfunded mandates….

  28. Posted by view lover

    I used to live in the avenues and always wondered why there were no trees. I paid to have one planted when a group of young people were on a plant a tree drive, but it died pretty quickly. The green space I had was grass, but it was a big chore to keep it alive. For some reason, grass did not seem to like the soil, I tried different kinds with no success. I had a pretty ratty looking front yard, but at least it did not look as ugly as the concrete all my neighbors had.
    And the issue someone raised about the trees interupt the power lines is true. I had another tree planted on 18th Avenue and it had to be cut back to the point that it only looked like a bush with a trunk. The power lines are actually pretty low, and underground lines is a big expense which I don’t believe the neighborhoods can afford.
    I find it interesting that this issue has just come up. Could it be that the sunset is finally being seen as part of SF proper? It used to always be referred to as the suburbs.

  29. Posted by ex SF-er

    here’s what an urban area looks like with trees. This is what many of the Chicago neighborhoods look like, many of which are more dense than SF.
    I see no reason why the city couldn’t simply take care of the trees. It’s really not that expensive.
    if you had LOTS of trees, then the dogs aren’t as much of a problem. When you have one tree in a 1 mile radius it’s a different story.
    Why can’t we do this in SF?

  30. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Eric – Thanks for the info from the Friends of the Urban Forest. I stand corrected, it wasn’t you who exaggerated but rather the FUF.
    For example from the FUF website : “[water] three times once a week every week, even when it’s raining”
    Oh c’mon FUF ! You water when the soil is dry and a moderate to heavy rain will ensure damp soil. Any gardener worth their slaked lime knows to stick their green thumb into the soil to test the moisture before watering.
    I think that FUF is prescribing overly conservative maintenance procedures to ensure survival of the trees. It isn’t their time or water bill that will take the hit, its yours. Oddly their overly conservative suggestions seem to be scaring people away from planting trees and working against their mission.
    I do see how sandy soils will require more frequent watering than clay soils though. But 3 times a week seems excessive except for the initial two weeks or so when the tree is getting over transplant shock.
    Another complaint on the FUF information : their “gallery of urban trees” http://www.fuf.net/tree_plantings/gallery_of_urban_trees.html does not reveal the hazards of planting certain pavement destroying species. For example the description of my favorite liquidambar tree (and I do like it, it is a beautiful tree especially in autumn) makes no mention that this species is infamous for destroying pavement. In fact the photo of the liquidambar specimen included on that FUF web page shows a liquidambar surrounded by concrete. I guarantee you that pavement will be lifted and cracked within 10 years.
    For those of you unfamiliar with liquidambar, I’m sure you have seen these trees. Also known as American sweet gum, their maple-like leaves turn vivid colors in the fall. In the winter they drop spiky spherical seed pods about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. If you spot a mature liquidambar along a street, take a look at the sidewalk. Chances are that you will either see it lifted up or evidence of a recent pavement repair.
    One more comment about trees and I’ll give it a rest. A mature tree is so valuable that it can even be priceless. For example there’s no way to transplant a 100 year old coastal oak. Even if you were a multibillionaire you could not afford to buy a mature oak. Its cheaper to buy the property where a mature oak is established and move your house there! But for a pittance you can plant a young tree that will grow into a very valuable asset. You might not live long enough to see it in its full glory but they do grow every year and add value to your home and the community.

  31. Posted by ex SF-er

    here’s what an urban area looks like with trees. This is what many of the Chicago neighborhoods look like, many of which are more dense than SF.
    I see no reason why the city couldn’t simply take care of the trees. It’s really not that expensive.
    if you had LOTS of trees, then the dogs aren’t as much of a problem. When you have one tree in a 1 mile radius it’s a different story.
    Why can’t we do this in SF?

  32. Posted by Usually Named

    Ex-SFer — because San Francisco is full of retards when it comes to urban planning. The expectation is to burden homeowners with rules and regulations without any understanding of unintended consequences.
    Furthermore, in a big chunk of San Francisco (including the Sunset), the native state is actually a bunch of sand dunes and scrub, not forestry. Remember that Golden Gate Park is a man-made invention, not preserved greenery.

  33. Posted by misha

    Most of the garages are converted into bedrooms or in-law units. No tell me where should I park my car?

  34. Posted by sf

    Off topic but I just fantasize about how much better those squat buildings would look if they were 6- 8 stories. I’m sure I am in the minority here.

  35. Posted by Adam

    Late to the tree discussion here, but I’ll add my experience.
    We own a home in the inner Mission. We planted four trees when we first bought it in 2001, two in front of our home and two in front of the neighboring slumlord’s liquor store.
    At first it was a 24/7 battle. People on the street either wanted to back their cars over them, uproot them to use as weapons, whatever. Combined with the ultra-poor quality of the clay soil, constant human pee and trash, it took daily work for years to keep the poor little trees alive and in health.
    Years later they’ve transformed the corner. We now have a lovely green wall where there was once only concrete and graffiti. We still have to work hard to make sure they’re doing well, as people use the tree cuts like trash bins, but all in all they’ve survived and the neighborhood is happier for them.
    FYI we planted fruitless plum and pear. Research your tree type, as this is important. Both the plum and pear are very tough, and fast growing, and can withstand high winds and less water. Also, be sure to break down or exchange the clay soil that is down there in most SF neighborhoods. This stuff will kill a young tree if not properly conditioned beforehand.

  36. Posted by anon

    I agree with you that it’s very possible to live in the city without a car depending on your situation. I’m only saying that it may not be as easy as Manhattan.My reasoning was only that a significant number of SF people live in SF but commute to the suburbs. whereas it seems like a much higher % of people who live in Manhattan work in Manhattan itself.the only reason I brought it up is because Manhattan is greener than SF is, but they also don’t have a lot of driveways. I conclude from this a lot of Manhattanites don’t have cars. Very different than much of SF… I was only hypothesizing why this might be the case…
    The overwhelming majority of San Franciscans work in San Francisco. Just as the “Google Buses” aren’t going to save prices of real estate in the city, they also aren’t an excuse for not having trees and putting too much emphasis on parking for cars.
    You’re right that Chicago has alleys to park cars in – good for them, that’s what a devastating fire and complete rebuild of the city can do for you. We need to be more like NYC and severely restrict the number of off-street parking spots in order to have fewer curb cuts and thus more trees and green space. In the Hudson Yards redevelopment area, the restrictions for off-street parking are one spot for every three units! We get all sorts of whining here when the most transit-friendly neighborhood in the city (Transbay/Rincon Hill) has places planned with more than DOUBLE the parking.

  37. Posted by Floristbecky

    Oookay… In 2001 I had to replace my terracotta sewer pipe to the main sewer because of the invasive juniper bush roots in the planter boxes in my front yard. Price out the cost of replacing that with cast iron. About fifteen years ago ‘friends of the urban forest’ did a tree planting down the block with liquid ambers, oy you should see what that did to the sidewalks, my kid considers them free skateboard jumps! About 35 years ago they planted ‘New Zealand Christmas” trees across the street, one gone and the two remaining caused the home owners thousands in sidewalk repairs. In SF the property owner is responsible for the sidewalk and the City is responsible for the curb only. That said, I concreted over half of my front yard so that my kid could have a basketball hoop. We live 1/2 block from a public middle school that is locked and closed from the public [that pays for it] every weekend and evening. I would absolutely invite DPW to get me for this great , grave, infraction. In fact if you want to check out my great sin… mapjack.com 2200 block of 15th Ave. You can see our awsome Dorito’s backstop

  38. Posted by joe shmoe

    Trees would be nice some places, that’s for sure.
    In Manhattan there are not many houses to start with, though some people seem to be trying to add garages to their townhouses these days. In general Manhattanites can find parking for their cars at monthly rates in large garages within a few blocks of where they live. These are often in the basements of apartment buildings or in old carriage houses that kept up with the times– mostly on one way streets. In these situations you don’t have a space, but leave the car with the attendant. In general you need to give at least half an hour notice before using the car so they can unpark it and move it to the main level for you. Of course, hourly parking rates in Manhattan generally discourage using your car unless you are driving out of Manhattan (Think $20 for first hour, $15 for second, $10 for third hour type of thing)– It makes using taxis and renting cars for long trips a very viable option.

  39. Posted by anoncomplainer

    Ex SF-er, your “Why can’t we do this” photo is perfect.
    http://glenwoodpark.com/greenstreet/images/favorites/lg/img_0025.jpg
    Wouldn’t tree roots be a problem in Chicago as well? It sure didn’t stop them from creating streetscapes such as this. For a “world class” city, San Francisco would do well to take a look at other “world class” urban areas and learn from what they do right. Despite all of the excuses posted, there is no excuse for this city not have trees and planters that would compare to a city which is under snow for 5 months a year.

  40. Posted by ex SF-er

    anoncomplainer:
    that’s why I personally believe the “it’s impossible to have a tree in SF” arguments are hogwash.
    I’m telling you, EVERY major city except for californian ones (SF, SD, much of LA) have trees. and TONS of them.
    I would ask that people look at the pic I linked (and relinked by anoncomplainer). Look at how dense the street is. Look at how big the trees are. Look at how GREEN the city is. And look at the sidewalk. Not a crack or buckle to be seen. This is in Chicago folks, where you get 100 degree days in the summer and -20 degree days in winter. NOTHING buckles sidewalks like weather changes like that.
    None of these other cities have problems with the trees.
    yes, there are some issues RARELY, but it’s not like you put a tree in the ground and then suddenly the sidewalks pitch up like a 8.0 earthquake or something. My gosh, you’d think that trees are like Godzilla or something. “We put a tree in and it ripped down all the power lines and then smashed through houses and ate 3 small children and then stomped on a Prius before the Hippies from Haight were able to bring it down!”
    and as I said, I’m not a tree expert, but I KNOW that most trees cause little to NO sidewalk buckling. Among them: Japanese maples, regular maples, oak trees. why? because my entire city is filled with trees everywhere. I counted yesterday: there is 1 buckled square of sidewalk on my street with over 30 trees. the buckle is by a Dutch Elm.
    Dutch elms cause lots of buckling, but they’re some of the biggest trees out there and the SF soil couldn’t support them. I’m sure sequoias and the redwood forest would buckle sidewalks too.
    and as commenters said above, they had issues with the varietals they mentioned.
    But SF weather isn’t that different than Marin, and look how many trees Marin has. Even in the cities (like Tiburon, Sausalito, etc)
    Again, SF is an UGLY city. Yes, it sits upon a beautiful area (hills, ocean, etc) and the area AROUND SF is beautiful, but the actual streetscape is HIDEOUS except for a few very small very rich areas (that have trees by the way)
    of course, it’s very un-SF for saying this, and I know I’ll get slammed. But just go to 90% of the streets in SF that aren’t on a park, and tell me that the actual STREET is beautiful.
    and then come back and compare to my picture. ALL of the Chicago neighborhoods look like that picture. yes, the poor areas have ugly houses, but are still green. The downtown obviously doesn’t have a trees (but the city plants hoards of tulips in spring and flowers the rest of the year)
    IMO: it’s time SF stopped pretending to be world class in every facet while ignoring OBVIOUS problems, and start being world class.
    and planting trees is not that hard.
    nor is using “green” driveways like I showed above.
    I promise you: most of your sidewalks will do just fine. as will your power lines. once in a while (once every decade or two?) you may have a buckled sidewalk. And then you fix it. And it will be a few hundred bucks. But you’re san franciscans… you spend that much on dinner.

  41. Posted by Adam

    The way to avoid buckled sidewalks is to slow drip water the trees for their first three years. It encourages the roots to grow down, not parllel to the ground.
    One of the main problems with FUF is they don’t do much in terms of follow up for the trees. You see them plant a bunch and then half of them are dead within a few months because no one is watering them.
    Property owners need to take care to not only plant trees, but take care of them at least for the first few years. After that, all that’s needed is an occasional trimming.

  42. Posted by Usually Named

    “IMO: it’s time SF stopped pretending to be world class in every facet while ignoring OBVIOUS problems, and start being world class.”
    Well, that’s the problem. San Franciscans are a provincial bunch, but we like to think we’re not. You might be referring to greenery, but it’s goes way beyond. I mean, how can a world class city have so many homeless in the streets? Have so much trash?
    It’s a general problem.
    That being said, Chicago gets things done because there’s a huge corrupt political machine that rams things through based on Mayor Daley’s “priorities.” Some good stuff, some bad stuff, but the question (which Obama now faces), is that do the ends justify the means?

  43. Posted by Elizabeth

    One of the main problems with FUF is they don’t do much in terms of follow up for the trees.
    You can pay for follow up care from FUF for up to 5 years, but after that time period you have to hire an arborist.

  44. Posted by anonfedup

    What a strange thread. We’ll ask to have the tops of the downtown towers dark for only one hour to show how much “we care” for the planet, but please don’t ask a San Franciscan to give up their concrete driveways for a tree.
    And what bizarre reasons for not wanting trees to be allowed to grow! They MAY damage the concrete sidewalks and driveways, they are in the way, they grow too big. Give me a break.
    Oh, and if another city like Chicago is able to get things done, well that must be because they have a “corrupt” mayor unlike our well run clean local San Francisco civic government and mayor.
    I give up!

  45. Posted by Lane

    IF you like the other cities better, then move there and leave San Francisco alone. We’re realistic and tired of outsiders thinking they know what San Franciscan’s want. Stop imposing your ideas on others. We are individuals. Look at your own property, you make think it is beautiful, but there is always room for improvement….
    If people want concrete, let them do it. If they want green, let them take care of it. Everyone’s situation is different. This is America….

  46. Posted by Sue

    If someone wants to pave their front yard, let them…. If they want to park their extra car, let them. It is private property…… We live in America….. where there is freedom…… We are not communist….we do not need government to rule us……This has nothing to do with the government….. This has to do with individual rights to property……Why do let the supervisors decide….I thought they represented the people in their neighborhood…… yet they want to add new fines……
    We want to be “green” yet we want to “conserve water”…. Get real…..

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