Comment 77884

By highwater (registered) | Posted June 02, 2012 at 16:24:28 in reply to Comment 77882

This is why, for example, the median trees along Main West near MUMC are both relatively slender (2"-3") and centred in a large hardscape island.

Actually, I believe a number of the trees on Main are Plane trees which can grow to an enormous size. I'll have a look next time I go by.

Columnars are generally best for most compact city settings, because you get desired height without too much spread.

I'm not sure where the dictum came from that assumes that 'too much' spread is a bad thing in urban settings, as long as it's high enough not to obscure sightlines. Sounds to me like the forestry dept. equivalent of the dictum that prioritizes through-traffic flow for our city streets.

We need street trees to create the kind of sheltering canopy that is conducive to making our streets healthy centers of commerce and social interaction.

I recall several years ago reading a study that showed health outcomes, and other social indicators, were better in neighbourhoods with tree canopies than those without. The conclusion was that the existence of sheltering shade on the streets encouraged neighbours to linger outside their homes and businesses, fostering the kind of social support networks that lead to better mental and physical health outcomes, lower rates of crime and addiction, lower drop-out rates, etc. etc.

You just don't get that with columnar trees. If street trees aren't going to provide the kind of canopy we need to make our streets liveable, what's the point? Planting columnars just so the city can say they planted trees, strikes me as the kind of watered-down half-measure that has undermined the success of the two-way conversions of York and James S, and, well, just about every other progressive initiative this city has undertaken.

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