The City of San Diego decided to keep a large 80-year old Torrey pine on the 4600 block of Long Branch Avenue in Ocean Beach after an upheaval from local activists who lobbied to keep the “significant tree” in the established OB neighborhood.

The City now promises to keep the salvaged tree, after nearly $5,000 was spent on researching the tree’s integrity. Through the extensive research, an activist proved the rare pine was indeed healthy and nearly risk-free, even though the tree protrudes into the street and surrounding sidewalk, causing a significant bulge.

“We’ve seen no movement and feel very confident that it is extremely secure,” the activist said.

Although the pine proved to be stable, the City of San Diego may have overlooked pedestrian safety in deciding the matter.  Now, city street crews will build a bridge over the exposed roots, and install a “rubberized sidewalk” for pedestrians to use, but it may not be enough to maintain public safety.

The City of San Diego has municipal code that protects Torrey pines, but the language does not prohibit city officials from taking actions to keep the public safe. Still, despite possible personal injury concerns and city liability, under activist pressure, the tree remains.

Bulging sidewalks: A pedestrian safety hazard?

The most recent tripping hazard on Long Branch Avenue was reported about 3 years ago, in 2008.  After the complaint, the City patched the bowed sidewalk since no funding was available for a permanent repair.

Numerous other complaints were received, prompting the removal of the tree. Now that the tree will stay, who remains at risk?

Children and the elderly, who may not be aware of the reconstructed sidewalk, are more susceptible to personal injury. Bicycle accidents, trips and falls, and even broken bones can be a potential hazard from the makeshift repairs.

What can San Diego residents do to maintain their sidewalks?

While the 80-year-old Torrey pine is here to stay, residents can be proactive at maintaining their sidewalks. Unless damage is caused by a car accident, a natural incident like the Torrey pine, or a water break, it’s up to the homeowner to keep up on maintenance, not the city.

The City offers a 50/50 cost sharing incentive to maintain sidewalks. Contact the City of San Diego for more information on this program.

If you fall and hurt yourself from a poorly maintained sidewalk, who’s to blame? For pedestrians who have incurred personal injury from a sidewalk accident, call our personal injury attorneys. San Diego pedestrian accidents are common in Ocean Beach and many other neighborhoods throughout the County, but our personal injury lawyers specialize in pedestrian accidents and can evaluate your case free and confidentially. Call us today at 1-858-551-2090.

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