San Francisco's aging batch of ficus trees claimed a few more victims this morning, as the trees — which are known hazards — toppled across the city.
In a July report in the Chron, San Francisco's Department of Public Works admitted that the decision in the 1960s to plant ficus trees throughout the city was a crummy one, as the trees are known for "limb failure." That was all too apparent this morning, when the modest amount of precipitation we had today took at least four of the trees down.
CBS5 reports the following incidents so far Thursday:
- A branch fell on a car at Gough and Post Streets.
- An entire tree came crashing down on the 600 block of Lombard Street near Joe DeMaggio Playground.
- A 40-foot ficus split in half and fell on top of multiple cars at Steiner and Eddy Streets.
- At 7:30 a.m., a tree fell near 23rd Street and Potrero Avenue, striking a pedestrian, cars, and overhead Muni lines. The pedestrian suffered head wounds, and was transported to the hospital.
According to CBS5, the DPW says that "all it takes a bit of dust or moisture to topple the trees," which is certainly comforting given that this is a fairly dusty and moist city, if my apartment is any indication.
When trees like the four (so far) that fell today topple, it's on the city to clean up the mess and pay for damages, with a price tag that begins at around $395 and skyrockets from there.
DPW spokesperson Rachel Gordon told the Chron in July that the agency tries to address issues with the trees "before they become major, but we just don't have the staff to inspect and prune proactively...Optimally, we should be inspecting our trees, such as the large ficus trees, every one to two years."
However, she said, "We don't even hit the five-year mark, which we set as a goal. Now it's closer to every 12 years for trees."
The only good news here? SF has wised up and stopped planting the hazardous trees. And, hey, if they keep toppling at this rate, 12 years from now maybe DPW won't have any to check on at all!