The expert behind the Tree-Bristol project has told Penarth Civic Society that – on wide roads – dedicated cycle lanes should be scrapped and central reservations created instead – on which trees could be planted.
Advocating this new approach to incorporating trees in urban streets is Russell Horsey a former senior officer City of Bristol’s “Tree-Bristol” project who made the case in a special presentation to the Civic Society earlier this month .
The idea runs counter to the politically-fashionable view that cyclists should have have dedicated lanes installed on roads just for them – but the experience in Bristol indicates that it works.
Mr Horsey, Development Director at the Institute of Chargtered Foresters, has shown in Bristol that there are better things that can be done with the roadspace than providing special lanes for cyclists.
In that city, cycle lanes were removed and the extra space was used to create a green central reservation for trees – enabling them to be planted without obstructing – and potentially disrupting – pavements.
Mr Horsey recounted the many benefits of having trees as part of the urban landscape – pointing out that trees make streets pleasant spaces; property prices are higher in tree-lined streets and a tree canopy helps in traffic calming and in the implementation of 20mph zones.
Tree-lined streets also, he says, have the effect of increasing the use of buses because the walk to the bus stop becames a more pleasant experience .
[PDN Note: One of Penarth’s widest roads – Plassey St – which has over the years lost many of its pavement trees, would be a prime candidate for the installation of a central “tree-corridor”. Getting rid of the mostly-unused cycle-lanes on either side would enable a green central reservation to be created on which trees could be planted. There is already a 550 yard long green central reservation on Dinas Road in Penarth – but only 7 trees have been planted on it ]
The former Labour-run administration in the Vale of Glamorgan has also consistently refused to replace most of the trees it removed from Penarth streets – claiming it was too expensive to install “root-cages” to confine the spread of tree-roots .
Mr Horsey however challenges this view and the quoted cost of £4,000-£6,000 on root containment for new on-street trees close to buildings and walls. Mr Horsey says that root containment is really a “small problem” and that “root-deflectors” – which have been installed in some – cost only £20 compared with the £350 cost of 4-metre standard trees.
Meanwhile the Vale of Glamorgan Council planning department has approved the felling of more trees on private property in Penarth’s Conservation Area:-
A dead tree is to be removed from the rear of 39 Plymouth Road.At 37, Plymouth Road, 1 lime tree, 3 ash trees, 1 apple tree and 1 sycamore are to be felled at the rear of the property. At 15, Marine Parade, Penarth a pine tree is to be felled and replaced with a magnolia and at the Marie Curie Hospice at Bridgeman Road a silver birch is to be felled.