From NY Civic:
Do you know about Pelham Parkway?
It is a magnificent park and boulevard, 2.3 miles long and 400 feet wide. It connects Bronx Park and Pelham Bay Park...There is nothing quite like it in the City of New York, in terms of greenery and grandeur enhancing a public thoroughfare.
Today it is threatened - by, of all entities, the City of New York, whose Department of Transportation is planning to improve the park's roadways, and remove 87 mature trees that give the parkway its character and beauty. The project is slated to begin this fall and conclude in 2012.
If this were proposed for Central Park, or anywhere in Manhattan, the roar of public outrage would be impossible to ignore. But this is the Bronx, where cries are more likely to be ignored by bureaucrats and by the media. Many Manhattanites don't even know where Pelham Parkway is, much less appreciate its unique appearance.
What is special about this Parkway is that as you drive in it, above you is an arbor of trees whose upper branches reach from one side of the road to the other. It looks, and you feel, as if you were traveling through a park.
In the Pelham Parkway case, we are told the road is not being widened. There is a plan to put a guard rail on the side of the road, to protect drivers who fall asleep, drive drunk, or don't know where the road is. The guard rail would also protect the trees, which are scuffed and gashed by the clumsy or irresponsible drivers.
It is not a physical necessity to remove the trees in order to install the guardrail. It is a convenience for the contractor. Also, a mature tree is not usually at death's door, about to fall on the roadway. Most have decades of life remaining. Their fate should not be determined by a death panel of highway engineers.
A city now engaged in planting a million trees, a most worthy crusade initiated by Mayor Bloomberg, should also place value on keeping the living trees that we have. If people at the highest levels were aware of the damage this project as currently designed would do, they would order the necessary changes so that we could improve the highway, build the guard rail and save the trees.
Part of the problem is awakening the environmental and botanical communities to the arborcide that would occur if current plans are carried out. Although the trees in this case are miles from Manhattan, they deserve equal protection. In order to save them, the Department of Transportation and its construction agency, the Department of Design and Construction, must be made to understand the value of existing mature trees. Many of these trees were planted in the 1930s. It would take until 2090 for the replacements to grow to match what we have today.
It's okay, Janette's making up for the environmental atrocity by putting in bike lanes all over the city! What do you think about this debacle, Reeg?