‘Bike Tree Love’ Spruces up the Excelsior
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Nancy Enciso lives in a dark red house on France Avenue in the Excelsior. She was outside on Saturday’s foggy, blustery morning, smiling and watching wide-eyed as some eighty people rode bikes and walked around her neighborhood and planted new fern pines, olives, and magnolia trees up and down the street. “It is going to look super!” she said.
The volunteers were working at the “Bike Tree Love” event, run by the Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. The planting was one of many “Earth Day” events held around the city. The objective was to plant 53 trees mostly on Athens and Moscow between Geneva and Russia, using shovels, picks, brawn and bikes. “We have to do it,” said District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safaí as he kicked off the day. “It’s a way to make the city healthy and greener.”
Safaí also spoke about citywide legislation he helped push through to fund the planting of 500 trees every year in his district.
The SFBC provided rebuilt bikes and trailers to move trees and equipment. “We’re loaning bikes for the day,” said Jo-Anne Burgess, Program Coordinator at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, who was busy hooking up trailers like the one in the lead image. “These trailers get piled pretty high… sometimes carrying thirty pounds each.” The loaners are bikes that were abandoned on SFMTA or BART property, and will ultimately be given away through SFBC’s Community Bike Build Program.
Anthony Castanos (lead image) is an avid cyclist and FUF volunteer. “I’m out ‘Fuf’ering every couple of weeks to give something positive to the community,” he told Streetsblog. He added that streets with good tree canopies are calmer and more inviting for biking, and he especially appreciates the trees FUF planted on Page Street, which is part of his normal commute. “It’s a huge component in making San Francisco beautiful,” he said.
“We believe there is a nexus between trees, climate change, and health,” said Dan Flanagan, Executive Director of Friends of the Urban Forest, in an address to the volunteers.
Enciso, meanwhile, was bubbling at the prospect of seeing all the new greenery on her street. “Can you plant one here… in front of my house?” she asked.
Since 1981, FUF, through events such as these, has planted more than 60,000 trees, totaling almost half of the city’s street tree canopy.
More photos of the event below: