June 22, 2015

Alert on outer Nørrebro, Hillerødgade and Borups Allé

An alert just in from a devastated citizen: the city plans to fell all the chestnut trees along a 10 meter wide road (!), for a bike lane. The sidewalk will be placed along the wall.

We hope someone reading this, who lives in the area, will be part of putting a stop to the insane project. My hands are full with Nørrebros Runddel and Møllegade/Guldbergsgade, and I am not able to organize another fight. But we will face a lot of these cases in the future, so it is up to the citizens to meet (maybe via this group) and help each other out. 

Mail from Anna Louise Kurre:

The City of Copenhagen plans to fell 10-12 old chestnut trees on Hillerødgade from the crossing Hillerødgade/Borups Alle towards Nordre Fasanvej. The reason is that they are placing a bike lane (which is a good thing), but the road leaves plenty of space for a bike lane on the road (as is the case in the Frederiksberg borough on the last part of Hillerødgade, towards Nordre Fasanvej).

The road is 10.8 meters wide, where the city plans to fell the trees, and according to the Road Council it must be between 3 and 3.5 meters. The plan is to remove the lawn separating the sidewalk and the house and fell the trees to make a sidewalk, bike lane and parking space right up against the building. They plan to replant (although no mention of how many).

We think it is wrong to fell the trees, seeing as there is space for the bike lane in the street, which again will cause lowered speed on this stretch. Funny how the bike lane will be placed on the road as soon as we reach the neighbor property Novozyme.
I hope you will be able to bring attention to the problem, so we on outer Nørrebro can keep our beautiful trees and avoid flooding of our already exposed basements.


Do you know anyone who can help? If you live nearby or know someone who does, leave a comment or send a mail, so we can help you get connected.
Picture of the endangered trees, by Anna Louise.

This boggles the mind! So much space allocated for cars, road space and parking, and still they plan to take the space from the trees and small patch of grass? Quality of life is obviously not a priority in the City of Copenhagen.

June 17, 2015

Save the Møllegade trees, sign the petition

We just launched our first petition!

Communications with the project managers behind the Møllegade square and the 14 endangered trees, has come to a full stop. At this spot the city plans to cut down 14 out of 17 big and viable trees, to “open up” and make a tile square entrance to the City of the Elderly. Part of this vision includes a bike lane. The children’s playground will be moved to the other side, incorporating a row of community gardens.

From the beginning:
From the very beginning, we have fought to be heard. Our concern was that trees would not be included in the process from the beginning, and that is exactly what turned out to be the case. At the time, we were told that the meetings were for a select group of locals, including the local environmental office (Miljøpunkt Nørrebro) and the local council (Lokaludvalg Nørrebro), who assured us they would fight for the trees.

Along the way.
From the sideline we have watched the proposals turn darker, and less green. The selected group of locals had to swallow this plan, as the tree health report they had requested, revealed that the trees were in “awfully poor shape”, and a risk to citizens. In December it is clear that we are looking at complete deforestation. We ask the project manager for an update, and are told that the trees are sick and that they don’t want any interruptions. We reach out to the Danish Society for Nature Conservation, who inspects the trees and gives them a clean bill of health.

After this, the dialogue gets tense. The project manager is infuriated by the extern evaluation that so clearly contradicts her claim, and we are instructed to not share our findings on social media. The conversation ends with her yelling and hanging up the phone. We write to our mayor of trees Morten Kabell, to inform him that the process is moving forward based on incorrect information.

The project manager invites us to a meeting, under the misleading subject line: “possible preservation of trees.” At this meeting we are informed that the budget for the project has been unrealistic from the get-go, preserving trees was never an option, and that the plan to fell 14 trees is final.

Following this meeting we get our answer to our letter to the mayor of trees, answered by the project managers. They state that the process have been good, that citizen’s have been heard and conveniently ignore the core of the problem: the untrue statements regarding the health of the trees. Attached is a note to the mayor, stating that not 3, but 6 trees will be spared. That is one story for the citizens and another for the mayor of trees.

The end of the line.
We ask for clarification (Are the citizens worn out yet? Confused? Exhausted? Hang in there!). And finally we get the answer: the plan can only be implemented if 14 trees are felled. Leaving only 3. But those who asked for an open and light square will receive planting boxes with onion flowers, and there are plans to re-plant four tulip trees on the square.

Three big ash trees could be spared, by moving the shed (!) away from the wall.

Enough is enough!
Nørrebro is the borough of Copenhagen with the least nature. With a Copenhagen average of 35 m2 green per citizen, the Nørrebro citizen have only 6 m2. This affects the quality of both air and life. A plan costing us 14 big and viable Nørrebro trees, is a bad plan. It needs to be re-considered or not implemented at all. 

(City of Copenhagen's own numbers from 2009. Amount of green m2, per citizen/borough)

The project has now been submitted for political approval. According to the project managers in late August, but they have previously said June. We can only assume that time is running out. We need to rally the troops now, to prevent this plan from going forward.

Our first petition is launched. We need to act now, or we lose our trees. Sign to save the Møllegade trees, and spread the word.

June 10, 2015

New York City count trees, because trees count

"New York City count trees, because trees count". In other leading metropolies they get the importance of urban trees. The City of New York calls for citizens to help out with the important assignment. Way to go, New York!

Read up on the amazing initiative here (link).

June 1, 2015

Møllegade news

Save the Urban Trees (Red Byens Træer) have written mayor of the trees Kabell about Møllegade, where the city plans to fell 14 out of 17 big and healthy trees, and the response is in. The management feel they have listened to the citizens and that the process have been flawless. Attached was a briefing to the mayor, and here is where it gets interesting:

In the briefing to the mayor it says that 8 trees have been marked as worth preserving, namely the ones along the wall on both sides, the same that forester Ove Løbner pointed out. It also states that since the last proposal, from December 2014, another 3 trees have been preserved. The 3 facing Møllegade, where they are planning to place a shed. In all: 6 trees saved.

But that is not true?! The final proposal as we know it, leaves only 3 trees out of 17. Incidentally the large corner ash is also marked as worth saving, but are to be felled as it “poses a danger to people’s safety” (?).

The square on top of the 3 ash trees is a simple swapping shed, for recycled items. 

Since we started digging, facts have been uncovered, that makes us question the entire process: the advisory board (consisting of selected locals) have been consistent in the wish for a green square. They even requested a healt report on the trees. The city then returned with a general statement that the trees are “in very poor condition”. Under these circumstances the board have had no other choice than to eat what was served. Now we know that the trees are healty, and furthermore that the budget at no point allowed for more trees to be preserved in this plan. Lastly we have established that even the mayor is kept in the dark, given false information.

Excerpt from mayor's briefing, dated May 7th 2015. Hello?

(If you need a translation of this, get in touch, we are happy to oblige)

According to the management, the project is up for political verification in August 2015. If we are to save our trees, we must act now. Nørrebro was in 2009 measured by the city to hit the lowest score in square meters green, per citizen. And since that time it has only declined. Enough is enough!
Green in square meters, per citizen. Boroughs listed, with average at bottom: 35 m2 vs 6 m2 for Nørrebro.

We await the answer from the management, concerning the discrepancies between what we know and what the mayor is told. If it is confirmed that we are indeed only left 3 trees, we need to lauch a massive petition. And, nothing stops us from getting an extern evaluation of the big corner ash, allegedly “a safety risk”.

Previous posts on Møllegade: