Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2006 Trees or lack of on sidewalks Previous Next
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Jams
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Username: Jams

Post Number: 2719
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.218.157.164
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 5:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Since today was mild, I decided to walk the couple of miles up Jefferson to my home. On my walk a question that nags me from time to time popped into my mind.

Why does the City redo sidewalks with "cut-outs" for trees which are than planted and in a few years are cut down? This makes no sense to me. I'd think if walkability is a concern, tree-lined walks add greatly to the appeal.

Just a little thing that I wonder about.
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Thrice
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Username: Thrice

Post Number: 72
Registered: 08-2005
Posted From: 207.91.250.131
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 5:49 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Trees grow big roots which can cause thousands of dollars in damage to the walkways.

Look at some of the older neigborhoods, some of the sidewalks are un-walkable becuase the roots have pushed up their sidewalks.
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Gravitymachine
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Username: Gravitymachine

Post Number: 880
Registered: 05-2005
Posted From: 198.208.159.20
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 5:51 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

pushed up sections of sidewalks always made good bike jumps when I was a kid....heck, they still make good jumps :-)
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Jams
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Username: Jams

Post Number: 2721
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.218.157.164
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 5:54 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thrice, Agreed. But if that is the issue, why do so many replacement sidewalks in Detroit have these as part of the plan?
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Jsmyers
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Username: Jsmyers

Post Number: 1439
Registered: 12-2003
Posted From: 209.131.7.68
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 5:58 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Street Trees are virtially required to have walkable streets. Appropriate trees have to be selected that don't have crazy roots. That wasn't done decades ago.

I think you would find that (especially in residential areas) property values are much higher where you have street trees.
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Thrice
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Username: Thrice

Post Number: 73
Registered: 08-2005
Posted From: 207.91.250.131
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 6:02 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Aesthetics.

Trees just look cool.

Some mandatory upkeep is always to be assumed.

I mean, why paint buildings with colors when we know we will just have to repaint them in a couple of years?
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Jsmyers
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Username: Jsmyers

Post Number: 1441
Registered: 12-2003
Posted From: 209.131.7.68
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 6:08 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Temperature, air polution, storm water, and wildlife (birds and squirrels).

Street trees make sidewalks livable, especially in August when it is 95, humid, and sunny.

(Message edited by jsmyers on February 21, 2006)
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Kiki
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Username: Kiki

Post Number: 3
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 69.14.28.99
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 6:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes.. trees pleasing to the eye

..but trees also provide entertainment when a bird poops on your friend's head as you walk thru town. hehe
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Upinottawa
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Username: Upinottawa

Post Number: 204
Registered: 09-2005
Posted From: 198.103.184.76
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 6:29 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

entertaining, unless you are the friend....

For the record, I like trees.
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 1818
Registered: 08-2004
Posted From: 4.229.24.135
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 8:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Some trees cause major root problems. That is why most localities forbid the planting of Weeping Willow Trees. Another tree that causes major problems are Silver Maples. I know because I have on in front of my house. My sidewalk was replaced twice in the last 12 years (first time by me, 2nd time by the city... SCS).

But many of the trees planted around downtown are Locust trees (Sunburst Locust is a common specie, with small leaves about an inch long and 1/4 inch wide). And Locust trees cause no upheavals like Elms or Silver Maples. Plus they don't have a full canopy, thus allowing sunlight to filter thru.

And yet the city is cutting down the Locust trees all the time around downtown and the riverfront.
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Futurecity
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Username: Futurecity

Post Number: 230
Registered: 05-2005
Posted From: 69.212.226.166
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 10:19 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Trees are pesky and require maintenance.

Trees obscure a motorists view of Big Box retail.

Besides, people in Michigan don't want their cities looking like Paris, or Barcelona, or Manhattan.
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Jimaz
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Username: Jimaz

Post Number: 197
Registered: 12-2005
Posted From: 68.2.191.57
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 10:25 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Gawd, how I miss trees. I was wandering the wood at 3AM and heard the eeriest sound. Turned out to be a limb fallen into the crotch of a neighboring tree, swaying, playing like a violin in the wind. Gawd, how I miss trees.
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Royce
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Username: Royce

Post Number: 1473
Registered: 07-2004
Posted From: 70.236.187.104
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 10:47 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What kind of trees line Main Street in Royal Oak? This is the best tree to have in a downtown area. They don't grow tall, and the width of their trunks stays narrow.
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Harsensis
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Username: Harsensis

Post Number: 16
Registered: 07-2005
Posted From: 71.227.102.82
Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 1:28 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

They might be cutting down ash trees. Ash trees were planted as a fast growing city tree, but now that pesky ash borer is destroying them.
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The_aram
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Username: The_aram

Post Number: 4691
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 141.213.175.233
Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 1:50 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

because where else would the crows sit to shit on your head when you're already having the worst day of your life?
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Rust
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Username: Rust

Post Number: 105
Registered: 08-2004
Posted From: 64.118.136.130
Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 7:58 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Royce, the tree in downtown Royal Oak are Locusts.
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Royce
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Username: Royce

Post Number: 1478
Registered: 07-2004
Posted From: 70.236.187.104
Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 7:59 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks, Rust.
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1953
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Username: 1953

Post Number: 694
Registered: 12-2004
Posted From: 209.104.146.146
Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 11:30 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The city did a wonderful job cutting down all of the trees on the north side of Madison, between John R and Grand Circus park, last spring or so.

Unfortunately, they forgot to replace them. Now the street has a banged up sidewalk with dirt square cut-outs for trees that are obviously absent.
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Gistok
Member
Username: Gistok

Post Number: 1819
Registered: 08-2004
Posted From: 4.229.105.153
Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 8:29 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Royce, I have a Locust tree in my back yard. The trunk is about 2 feet in diameter. The tree is about 40 ft. tall with a 40 foot wide canopy. My neigbor had an even larger one, but cut it down because the small leaves are a pain in the butt for clogging gutters and downspouts.

Locust trees are fast growing and can get big, but only after about 25 years. And supposedly (not sure if this is true) they only live about 50-60 years (except in downtown Detroit where they have a "shortened" lifespan of about 10 years).

(Message edited by Gistok on February 22, 2006)
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Blitz
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Username: Blitz

Post Number: 136
Registered: 09-2004
Posted From: 72.139.187.142
Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2006 - 1:53 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Locust trees are popular street trees since they're low maintenance and have very tiny leaves. The ones lining Ouellette Avenue in downtown Windsor were planted about 25 years ago so that gives an idea of how much they can grow per year.
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Neilr
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Username: Neilr

Post Number: 194
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 69.242.215.65
Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2006 - 11:56 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

When Lafayette Park was built, the landscaper from Chicago, Alfred Caldwell selected locust trees for the upperstory of his landscaping plan. Early photos show them as broomstick-like twgs sticking out of the ground. They have since grown to 50-60 feet.

I like them because they provide a nice dappled shade and have a sculptural shape that looks good throughout the seasons.

Like all trees, they have some problems. They tend to be messy. The little leaves get everywhere.
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Michikraut
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Username: Michikraut

Post Number: 124
Registered: 05-2004
Posted From: 80.136.89.211
Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2006 - 1:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Trees are also good for muting the traffic sounds.
Not to even mention about doing something to improve the air quality.

A streetscape without trees is generally somewhat boring and austere. Trees also cost money, for the initial planting, (need to be somewhat grown with root system to avoid dying the first couple of years due to the higher summer temps), then they need to be trimmed every couple of years, and also the removal of autumn leaves. Locust can grow quite large and not really sure of what sort of lifespan they have. Over here in Germany, many streets are lined with Linden (big leaves, which stay on into late fall, nice crowns, and can live for a long time- some around me have been there over a 100 years. The City crews just trimmed the trees on my street last week. They were scalped almost down to a few big branches and trunks. The whole street looks naked. Sure it will increase the sunlight on my balcony and in the apartment(perhaps I can actually grow something this year). Though will also mean warmer temps in the summer. The big drawback from Lindens is that they have a cottony pollen they release in June- have to keep the windows closed or the place is filled with fluff- and a bitch to clean up. Another great tree are chestnuts: beautiful when they flower in the spring, have a great shaped crown (sort of like a tulip) and also very stable and can live a long time.
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Gistok
Member
Username: Gistok

Post Number: 1830
Registered: 08-2004
Posted From: 4.229.150.10
Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2006 - 5:27 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes Linden Trees are very popular in Germany, and they can get quite ancient. There was a 1000 year old Linden Tree in the the courtyard of Nuremburg's Imperial Castle, known as the Kunigunden-Linden. But it died in the Jan. 2, 1945 firebombing of Nuremburg.

And of course Berlin's main street is called "Unter Den Linden" (under the Linden Trees).

What are those trees that I see in the Grosse Pointes that have ivory colored flowers that grow all over the tree in clusters resembling raspberries?
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Jams
Member
Username: Jams

Post Number: 2798
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 64.148.230.245
Posted on Thursday, March 02, 2006 - 2:33 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Got my answer, ran into a former COD forester I know.

He explained it to me. When the new sidewalks are laid, they ignore the subsurface and just plant the trees. In a couple of years, the tree roots not able to expand naturally threaten the side walks and are cut down. Rather than expensively correcting the subsurface, it's easier not to plant another tree. (if I were jjaba, Thrice would win a prize.....but I'm not!)

So if this is known, why does the City continue to replace sidewalks with tree cutouts on the new ones, if they will be cut down in 2-5 years? Noticed a new one in Downtown today.

OK, I'm asking for a bit much, logic from our City government.
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Mplsryan
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Username: Mplsryan

Post Number: 132
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 24.26.164.215
Posted on Thursday, March 02, 2006 - 3:26 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

In many cities during street repair, 'structural' soil is placed under the sidewalks rather than hard clay and concrete backfill. This allows for better aeration and root growth. Does detroit have any idea how to take care of street trees? Its all about planning- it saves money in the long run.
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1953
Member
Username: 1953

Post Number: 709
Registered: 12-2004
Posted From: 209.104.146.146
Posted on Thursday, March 02, 2006 - 10:45 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

A few months back I saw a news report about rubber sidewalks that are being tested in the Pacific northwest. The sidewalks are plenty firm, but far more flexible that concrete. They allow tree roots to move about and are also good for the tired knees of passing joggers.

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