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Shoreline residents fighting to save trees to be removed in city’s 175th street improvement project

SHORELINE, Wash. — Some Shoreline residents are pushing back against the city’s plan to sacrifice hundreds of trees to widen a major thoroughfare and its sidewalks.

The city says it is for safety’s sake.

Nearly 300 trees are slated to be removed along North 175th Street in Shoreline. But some residents say they believe the street and sidewalk can be made safer without sacrificing the trees.

Despite the pushback, the city is going ahead with this work.

Kathleen Russell says the group “Save Shoreline Trees” has accepted that it can do nothing to save the trees between I-5 and Meridian Avenue. That’s because the city of Shoreline approved phase one of its 175th Street Corridor Improvement Project, a project that Russell and other tree activists say is coming at the expense of scores of precious trees.

“And because of the sidewalk widths and the medians that are planned, more trees are coming down,” said Russell, “a hundred twenty-five evergreens.”

“Absolutely, we care about trees, too,” said Eric Bratton. “And we want to everything we can to protect our urban canopy.”

But Bratton, a spokesman for the city of Shoreline, says those trees are being sacrificed to a larger good, to widen one of the city’s most used roadways and replace its woefully inadequate sidewalks.

“If you’ve looked at 175th, we lack sidewalks for children who are trying to get to school,” he said. “If you’ve seen that school right there on Meridian. It’s really hard to get to school on those very narrow sidewalks.”

Russell says they believe that can be accomplished and the trees saved, too.

“It’s not either or,” insists Russell. “It’s not an either or situation. It’s combined. We need both.”

Eric Bratton says the city is doing both, spending more than $3.4-million dollars in the next five years alone on the urban forest.

Still Save Shoreline Trees is hoping to have some say in phases two and three of the project to widen this road.

So, stay tuned.

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