San Francisco voters appear to have shifted the responsibility of all street trees back to The City through the passage of Proposition E.
The measure, authored by Supervisor Scott Wiener, reverses an unpopular move made in 2012, which put the care of The City’s 105,000 street trees into the hands of property owners.
Wiener has previously noted that San Francisco has, for the past 40 years, slowly stepped away from taking responsibility for a tree canopy that now ranks among the nation’s smallest for an urban area. As it stands, San Francisco’s street maintenance process has resulted in neglect and death for many of The City’s street trees.
Specifically, Prop. E — which required more than 50 percent of the votes to pass — amends the charter to require San Francisco to properly care for its urban forest.
The City’s Department of Public Works will now be responsible for not only the upkeep and care of the more than 100,000 street trees in San Francisco, but it will also be responsible for the surrounding sidewalks damaged by trees.
San Francisco will pay for the maintenance of trees and sidewalks by setting aside $19 million per year from its General Fund.