I think it is safe to say we have more street trees in the City of St. Louis today than at any time in the history of the city.Â Historic streetscape photos reveal wonderful architecture and busy sidewalks, but they were sidewalks without trees.Â It is understandable why in the middle of the 20th Century planners sought to create open space.Â Because there was very little open or green.Â I think they went too far and calls today for open space are meaningless when we’ve an excess of open but a strong lack in quality urban space.Â I favor infilling our blocks while greening our streets.
This past weekend I was delighted to see the addition of additional street trees on 17th street:
And looking North:
The parked vehicles and street trees help separate the pedestrian on the sidewalk from the passing cars on the road.Â Take away the trees and stationary vehicles and the pedestrian experience becomes quite different.
The Blu CitySpaces condo project did the street trees on their side of 17th but also on the West side of 17th in front of the 7-11. Â In a few years 17th will have a nice canopy from these trees. In other parts of the city we see many tree-lined streets and many barren streets.Â I lived in Old North St. Louis in the early 1990s when we cut the sidewalk along St. Louis Ave to plant street trees.Â These are nice and mature.
Regardless of where you live, street trees can make a big difference.Â Newer subdivisions in suburbia especially.Â Most often these houses have the single tree out in the lawn but nothing lining the street.Â If your subdivision has sidewalks one of the best things you and your neighbors can do is to line your street with trees — with trees planted between the curb & sidewalk.