Who is going to cut those weeds?

 

Dry grass can be a fire hazard as well as an eyesore.

Dry grass can be a fire hazard as well as an eyesore. Vegetation encroaching the sidewalk can be problematic for pedestrians.

 

Almost everything seems to grow fast in Seattle, especially weeds, making maintenance of  areas along city streets a challenge. In addition to being annoying, overgrowth can present safety or health issues. So who is responsible?

Overgrown bushes can obstruct a sidewalk forcing pedestrians into the street, and can block the sightline of drivers presenting a safety issue.

Overgrown bushes can obstruct a sidewalk, forcing pedestrians into the street, and can block the sightline of drivers, presenting a safety issue.

 

The general rule is, the adjacent property owner is responsible. Private property owners are responsible for maintaining the sidewalks and planting strips next to their property; the Seattle Department of Transportation is responsible for street medians and certain other areas next to public property such as next to city bridges; and the Seatttle Department of Parks and Recreation maintains areas next to city parks.

 

SDOT crews maintain the street median on Greenwood Avenue North.

SDOT landscape crews maintains the street median on Greenwood Avenue North.

 

Property owners are responsible for keeping vegetation from their property from blocking sidewalks  or streets.  To provide sufficient clearance for pedestrians, tree branches should hang no lower than eight feet above the surface of a sidewalk, and to provide engough clearance for vehicles including large trucks, branches should hang no lower than 14 feet above the surface of a street. It is also very important to trim back vegetation that might block the view of an intersection from a distance of 30 feet, or vegetation that might obscure a traffic sign or traffic signal.

Tree branches should hang no lower than eight feet above a sidewalk .

Tree branches should hang no lower than 8 feet above a sidewalk .

 

To report issues regarding vegetation overgrowth from public property such as street medians or along bridges, call the Seattle Department of Transportation, (206) 684-7623 or use the online form at http://tinyurl.com/mdbhzta.

For vegetation growing from private property into the sidewalk or street, contact the Department of Planning and Development, (206) 615-0808 or use an online form at http://web1.seattle.gov/dpd/complaintform. ) 

Property owners who take good care of the planting strips next to their homes provide a benefit to the neighborhood.

Most property owners take good care of the planting strips next to their homes. This helps maintain safety while improving the appearance of the neighborhood.

 

A street use permit is required for pruning or removing trees in the public right of way (contact the SDOT Urban Forestry Office at 684-7649), and a permit or exemption is required to remove vegetation from environmentally ciritcal areas such as steep slopes or wetlands.

For more information, please visit:

www.seattle.gov/dpd/codesrules/commonquestions/weeks/default.htm