Joe Urban | Sam Newberg, Urbanist

In Praise of Street Trees

Dateline: 3:39 pm March 9, 2012 Filed under:

I was momentarily horrified last fall when I visited the Central Corridor, the new light rail line (recently renamed the Green Line by Metro Transit) under construction down the middle of University Avenue in St. Paul. The portion of street that has already been rebuilt included rails, rebuilt street, curb and sidewalk complete with attractive streetscape elements, but no trees! “Oh, please, no,” I thought!

A quick email to Donna Drummond, Director of Planning at the Department of Planning and Economic Development in St. Paul assuaged my fears. Yes, indeed trees are part of the streetscape plan as concstruction occurs, and they will be planted starting this spring. Whew!

The first light rail line in Minneapolis (The Hiawatha Line, now called the Blue Line, I guess) opened in 2004 with nary a tree planted along the entire Hiawatha Corridor or 5th Street in downtown, a major oversight in my opinion. Now those of us who live near the line are forced to backfill tree plantings to create better environments in which to walk and promote good development, and to be honest I’ll be thrilled when a single tree gets planted (we’re working on it!).

And so it appears, at least with regard to street trees, we have learned to include trees as a placemaking element that goes lockstep with a new transit line.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.