Trees and Sidewalks

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Guest blogger Peg Staeheli, ASLA, LEED AP | principal / landscape architect, SvR Design Company

It’s spring! Walking along our city streets there are birds chirping and that bright green from new leaves catches your eye.  Taking a walk along a tree lined street ¦ what do you feel?  shelter?  habitat? comfort?  What is triggering that emotional and physical response within you?  Smell? Sound? Protection?  Trees and sidewalks- that vinegar and oil mix that flavors city life.



Do we take this experience of walking under trees for granted? How do you feel when trees are removed along a street? Do you experience a hostile feeling when you are along a street without the buffer from overhead trees? Observe the difference of a neighborhood with and without trees; the lack of trees is indicative of decline.  But most importantly, note how the addition of trees and enhanced plantings along our streets draws people outside and engages us to meet our neighbors as we look up into the fluttering leaves and then back down to say hello.


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Visionary people provided the grand, expressive trees we love along many of our streets. Now it is our time to carry on this vision. We should begin the inquiry of how we can allow room for trees along our streets and still provide the urban housing density the growth of our cities demand.




Time is of the essence- we have to begin planting our urban trees now -as trees must have time to grow so our children can take their children for a walk under the trees and they can experience a healthy, active, and engaged neighborhood.



Photos courtesy of icsevents, US Department of Transportation, University of Minnesota and Natural Resources Defense Council Staff Blog

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raise awareness throughout Washington about the benefits of walkable communities and rights of the pedestrians

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