Tree Removal in Downtown to Allow for Storm Drain Upgrade and Sidewalk Accessibility

June 25, 2020

The City of Mill Valley is working hard to upgrade the storm drains and make our sidewalks more accessible in the Downtown area as part of the Downtown Project. One of the locations that will receive storm drain improvements is at the corner of Lovell Ave and Corte Madera Ave, in front of the Illumigarden showroom. To conduct the needed work, the project will require the removal of one Liquidambar tree.

The tree is located right next to the sidewalk, which has been removed for work on the storm drain running under the driveway entrance to Illumigarden. The exposed roots are very dense with a lot of root mass close to the trunk. The work to be done at this location includes installing a catch basin that is 3ft deep right at the base of the tree, as well as forming and pouring a new concrete sidewalk and curb. The City’s Arborist has assessed the tree and determined that the resulting damage to the roots would very possibly leave the tree unstable.

Liquidambars were planted as street trees in Mill Valley decades ago, but over the years have been seen as less compatible with the urban environment, as they have large surface roots that lift sidewalks, necessitating expensive repairs and creating trip hazards. The seed pods are also considered a nuisance to some, as they fall in large quantities on the sidewalk where people could slip on them.

Work crews will remove the tree within the next fed days. The City will replace the tree with a Red Maple, which will match the two Red Maple trees across the street at City Hall. Red Maples are similar to Liquidambars in form and texture, with lovely fall color that is yellow to red. The new tree will be planted when construction is complete.

Questions or comments may be directed to:

Peter Torre, Parks Supervisor
Phone: (415) 388-4242