Tuesday, August 30, 2011

let's talk about trees, baby

(the title is reference to your blog reading soundtrack, which you will find here)

Trees are a huge part of a cityscape. And as you may have found out during the hot months, a walk across downtown is a lot more pleasant in dappled shade.

Urban trees have a hard lot in life. They grow up in little patches of dirt, surrounded by concrete. It takes careful design and planning to get a tree to thrive in the hot, crowded city. Luckily for them, the city does this and lovingly maintains them. Right?



I can't tell you how much the empty patches of dirt on Market Square bother me. We spent millions of dollars renovating the Square and we can't even make the effort to get new saplings in there? And the dirt itself... after a few attempts at a little monkey grass, the city gave up on landscaping. Part of the problem is that everyone cuts across these patches and tramples anything planted there. Perhaps raised planters like the ones down Market Street could help prevent this:



Or if we can't bring ourselves to make that much effort, let's just put in some tree grates so that they don't remain little doggie litter boxes full of steaming poo.



Meanwhile, around the corner, the cities newest tree planting strategy is off to a smashing start:



Dirt: 3, Trees: 2

Given how long we've waited for replacement trees on the Square I'm not holding my breath for Wall Ave. P.S. Does it bother anyone that the brick paver strips don't align with the planting areas?! Maybe it's just me.



On the other side of the Square the trees that were not planted to the city's spiffy new design are doing just dandy. Coincidence?

And now for the last travesty. The end of Market Street closest to the Courthouse just got rebuilt. I loved that narrow little block, with its old brownstones and tree overhanging the street... I looked forward to seeing it get a little TLC. I was distressed to see the tree get cut down, but I figured the placement of the old trees didn't work with the new plan. I saw the brick pavers go down, same as Wall Ave... and they just kept going. Where are the trees?!!




That block of Market is now the hottest on my route to the City County Building. I might have believed them if they told me the street is too narrow for trees, except for, you know, THE BEAUTIFUL TREE THAT HAD BEEN GROWING THERE FOR DECADES.



C'mon Knoxville, let's get it together.

UPDATE:
As the commenter below indicated, there WILL be trees on Market Street. I went back and looked at the other side of the street and found these:



I can't wait to see this block after the Fall planting season. I've never been so happy about being wrong!


3 comments:

Jessica said...

Do you remember what Market Square looked like before the renovation? TREES! Amazing shade trees. And now? Cement and dirt patches. :/

mte said...

That tree on the 700 block was in seriously poor health—a great big chunk of it had fallen on a car just a few months before construction started in the winter.

The new trees for the block are scheduled to be planted in the fall, according to the city. summer's just not a time for planting.

ck said...

I went back and looked mte- you're right, I didn't see the grates on the other side of the street. I put an update in the post.