22 Benefits of Urban Street Trees
by Dan Burden, senior urban designer
for Glatting Jackson and Walkable Communities Inc.
1. Decrease traffic speeding and crash severity
2. Safer walking environments
3. Separation of motorists from pedestrians and buildings
4. Increase home ownership and surveillance in neighborhoods
5. Increase foot-traffic for businesses
6. Reduce storm water runoff and flooding potential
7. Provides protection rain, sun and heat
8. Reduce harm from tailpipe emissions
9. Convert harmful gases back into oxygen and other useful natural gasses
10. Lower urban air temperatures
11. Lower ozone
12. Convert streets, parking and walls into more aesthetically pleasing environments
13. Soften and screen street features such as utility poles and benches
14. Reduce blood pressure, improve overall emotional and psychological health
15. Reduces perception of travel time
16. Reduces instances of road rage
17. Improves visibility of traffic signs when properly placed
18. Adds value to adjacent homes, businesses and tax base
19. Provides a lawn for a splash and spray zone, storage of snow, driveway elevation transition and more
20. Soften and screens on and off-street parking
21. Lengthens life of pavement
22. Provides a wildlife habitat and connection to nature for humans
Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful is inviting developers, home owners associations and residents interested in adding tree canopy to their neighborhoods to call their office.
Because KCNB’s Bring One for the Chipper project — where in which residents can turn in their Christmas trees to be chipped into mulch for free — was scheduled earlier this year than in years past, not as many residents participated.
Part of the project is to give residents who bring their Christmas trees to be chipped a free seedling donated by Keep Georgia Beautiful.
"We have several hundred seedlings left," said Connie Waller, executive director of KCNB, "and we wanted to do something constructive with them."
In the fall of 2008, KCNB’s business committee picked the Alliance for Community Trees’ NeighborWoods program as its "passion project" or project they wanted to see implemented within the year.
With financial support from the Home Depot Foundation, the NeighborWoods program provides grants and training to organizations and individuals dedicated to restoring urban canopy.
"It’s not only about the revitalization of older neighborhoods, but also some of the new subdivisions that totally strip and cut down all trees during construction," said Lisa Powell Oglesby, chair of KCNB’s business committee.
Oglesby said the business committee is currently trying to identify neighborhoods and communities that would benefit from the program as well as that have residents willing to take charge of caring for the seedlings.
"We really have to work with the city, arborists, the county and the community for this to be successful," Oglesby said.
Waller said the project is not solely designed for beautification but also to educate residents and developers about the many environmental and money-saving benefits of trees. Powell said trees can provide shade lowering home cooling costs in the summer and block wind, reducing heating costs in the winter, as well as preventing erosion.
KCNB would like to donate the seedlings to neighborhoods interested in becoming a NeighborWoods community. The seedlings come in a bag so the roots remain moist.
She said Forrester Beryl Budd explained to her the seedlings could survive in the bag for a month and then be heeled in the ground for another month before they would no longer be viable.
"The sooner we get them in the ground the better," Waller said.
The seedling species available are Swamp Chestnut Oak and Green Ashes, which will both grow into large, sturdy long-lived trees. Those who like to fish would benefit from Catalpa trees, which butterflies lay their eggs in and the larvae can then be used for bait. Dogwoods, a decorative favorite, are also available.
She said that a planting project organized by Hands on Newton and set for the Martin Luther King Jr. birthday holiday will see some of the seedlings planted at Turner Lake Recreation Facility, Community Food Pantry, Porterdale trail system and Chimney Park.
Anyone interested in the NeighborWoods program should call KCNB at (770) 784-2015.