NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — On Sunday, CBS2 showed several intersections on Staten Island where traffic signs were obscured by overgrown trees.
Residents complained the city was ignoring annual requests to trim them.
CBS2’s Ali Bauman has been demanding answers, and on Monday, she got action.
On Sunday, a stop sign was buried behind branches at Richmond and Perkiomen avenues in the Eltingville section of Staten Island. On Monday, it was clear.
Indeed, nearly every intersection CBS2 featured Sunday night with trees growing over traffic signs was sprinkled with sawdust Monday.
“You can actually see it, so people don’t blow through it,” said Emma Kay.
Residents said they have bene reporting the problem to the Department of Parks and Recreation for years, waiting for some kind of response. But the trees kept growing, with dangerous consequences.
“A car landed once on the lawn from a car accident over here,” said Cheryl Lella.
“Since we’ve been here, I’ve seen four accidents on the corner because people are making turns when they’re not supposed to,” said Susan Kemler.
And less than 12 hours after CBS2’s report aired on Sunday night, there was a change.
“Two large orange trucks and a man walking on the opposite side of the street,” said Joanne Hestnes.
The traffic signs are now actually visible again.
“If that’s what it takes, then I’m glad you came,” said Nancy Marine.
CBS2’s Bauman asked the Parks Department for an interview to explain how often trees are trimmed, and why the branches were able to grow for so long. A representative said no one was available for an interview on Monday, and the department never received any complaints of notifications about the intersections before CBS2’s report.
Neighbor Noreen Taylor said that is not true.
“It’s in black and white, so listen — the paper doesn’t lie and it came from the city,” Taylor said.
CBS2 showed the Parks Department Taylor’s letter that the department itself had issued, dated six year ago after she filed a complaint.
An inspector apparently saw the “low-hanging limbs” on Petrus Avenue by Richmond Avenue. But Taylor said the department never came back until Monday.
“This should just be a regular thing,” she said. “When the trees become overgrown, they should come out and prune them.”
The Parks Department argues the letter does not specify obstruction of a traffic sign, and said if it had, they would have pruned the trees within weeks. There is only one way to know for sure if the city is responsive, and that will be when the branches start growing back.
The Parks Department said routine pruning is over a seven-year cycle, which depends on available funding.