The removal of eight cherry trees on Pike Street, in front of Pike Place Market’s entrance, began Tuesday morning after a week of controversy and compromise.

Last week, Mayor Bruce Harrell ordered the 40-year-old trees removed and replaced with new cherry trees, a change in the original plan by the city’s Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects that would have seen hybrid elms planted in their place. He also ordered 16 new cherry trees be planted, likely along other stretches of the waterfront as public improvement projects continue there.

The mayor’s decision followed meetings with the local chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League and the Save The Market Entrance preservation group, both of which opposed the trees’ uprooting, citing their cultural and historical significance. 

The tree replacement is part of a $17.5 million project to better connect Capitol Hill with the waterfront by expanding sidewalks, protecting and establishing bike lanes, and making other upgrades on Pike Street from Bellevue Avenue to First Avenue.

Seattle to replace aging cherry trees next to Pike Place Market