Friday, August 13, 2010

Tree massacre coming to Pelham Parkway

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?


Gary the Agnostic said...

This is a criminal act. Pelham Parkway is one of the most beautiful streets in this city. Good for you, Regis.

georgetheatheist said...

When I want peace and quiet in this nutty city, one of the things I do is drive over the Whitestone and then west across Pelham Parkway to the NY Botanical Garden for a floral Spaziergang. The same way back in reverse. An uplifting experience coming and going

Pelham Parkway is the prologue and coda of a very pleasant sojourn. If this planned arborcide materializes, I for one will be quite disturbed.

Pelham Parkway, in the Bronx, thonx.

Anonymous said...

Asshole proponents of the project blame the trees for the car accidents. It's the other way around.

Yes there are car accidents only because many drivers speed down the road, drive drunk, lose control, etc. In the process they end up hitting a tree.

Proponents of the tree cutting project would like for you to believe that the trees walk onto the road to purposely hit vehicles. They say the trees are a threat to human safety.

Aren't there more serious issues to worry about in the city than some harmless trees?

Anonymous said...

"When I want peace and quiet in this nutty city, one of the things I do is drive..."

... and make it harder for the rest of us to get peace and quiet. Nice.

georgetheatheist said...

I'm not a driver. I'm a motorist.

Queens Crapper said...

How does someone driving a car make it harder for someone else to get peace and quiet? He didn't say he was pumping up the bass on his polka music and riding around.

georgetheatheist said...

Now that you've got me thinking . . . I'd pay top dollar to see and hear the Jimmy Sturr Orchestra play smack dab in the middle of the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden.

Anonymous said...

From what I understand they don't actually need to remove the trees. A contractor has been hired to put in a barrier and it would be easier for the contractor to chop down the trees than to work around the trees.
This is one of the nicest most scenic roads in the city and this arborcide is pointless and wasteful.

Erik Baard said...

I believe research would bear out the bicyclists are generally more active as tree planters and tree stewards. We gain nothing by attacking the relatively inexpensive introduction of more bike lanes to enhance safety.

If ever there wasn't a tradeoff and there was a chance to build coalitions, this is it.

Anonymous said...

BLOOMBERG AND BENEPE - LEAVE OUR TREES ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anthony D'Ambrosio said...

Thank You Regis. Keep speaking up for us.

Maryann said...

I raised my children on Pelham Parkway, they have fond memories of waving to their father, who drove the bus along this road. How sad to think someone wants to deface this beautiful area. How about lowering the speed limit for 2.3 miles. Durrrr. A former resident from 1960-1975.