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  • Writer's pictureMischel Siapco

"Who Takes Care of San Francisco's Street Trees? Understanding City Responsibility Shifts"

Updated: May 8

By Clay Gjevre

Understanding San Francisco's Street Tree Responsibility Shift

Did you know that before 2017, if a street tree damaged your sidewalk in San Francisco, the homeowner was responsible for the repairs? This often unexpected expense could be a real hassle for property owners. However, this all changed in 2016 thanks to a decisive vote by San Franciscans in favor of Proposition E.

Proposition E was a game-changer for both homeowners and street trees across the city. With its passage, the responsibility for the maintenance of over 124,000 street trees, including any sidewalk damages they cause, shifted from individual property owners to the city itself. This initiative, known as Street Tree SF, is backed by the Public Works of San Francisco and ensures that all street trees are maintained and professionally cared for.

Under the Street Tree SF initiative, each tree in the city is scheduled to be pruned every three to five years, depending on the type of tree. This regular maintenance helps to minimize potential damage and keeps our sidewalks safer. Moreover, Street Tree SF is responsible for repairing any sidewalk damages caused by tree roots. You might have noticed paint marks on sidewalks with cracks — these are part of a color coding system used by the city to identify and address responsibilities for repairs.

White:  Property Owner

Green: City Agencies

Yellow: PG&E

Blue: Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Water / St. Lighting

Orange: Comcast / AT&T

Red: San Francisco Fire Department

This shift not only alleviates financial and physical burdens from homeowners but also promotes a greener, more sustainable urban environment. Proper care and maintenance of street trees contribute to the city’s beauty and residents' quality of life by providing cleaner air and reducing urban heat.

For homeowners and prospective buyers, understanding these types of city initiatives is crucial as it impacts property values and living conditions. San Francisco’s commitment to maintaining its urban forestry exemplifies the city's dedication to improving public infrastructure and resident welfare.

If you're considering buying or selling property in San Francisco and want more information on how local policies can impact your investment, staying informed about such initiatives is essential. Remember, a well-maintained environment not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of the neighborhood but also boosts property values and the overall community spirit.

For further details on Street Tree SF or other local initiatives, there are additional resources available online. And if you're looking to make a move in the real estate market, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional guidance tailored to the vibrant and diverse San Francisco real estate landscape. 


Street Tree SF

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