Why Street Trees? Here are some facts to consider about the benefits trees make to our town.
Cars drive more slowly on streets with trees.
Traffic moves more slowly on streets lined with trees. Trees have a calming effect, and drivers are at least subconsciously aware that where there are trees, there are often pedestrians and children playing.
Street trees cut traffic noise.
Street trees reduce the amount of engine noise created in the first place, because drivers go more slowly. But a line of large leafy trees can also absorb a great deal of noise. Even a line of smaller trees can be enough of a buffer to block traffic noise from reaching private yards and homes.
Trees increase property values
The beauty of a well-planted property and its surrounding street and neighborhood can raise property values by as much as 15 percent.
Residents walk more on streets with trees.
When cars drive more slowly, pedestrians feel safer. In addition, curbs and trees provide a physical and psychological buffer between sidewalk and car traffic that increases this feeling of safety. The busier the street, the more this safety buffer is needed. And of course, trees provide an environment in which it is more pleasant to walk – something attractive and green to look at, shade in the summer, a canopy from rain in the winter.
Another thing that happens when we plant trees is that people can no longer park their cars up on the sidewalk. How often have you tried to walk down a street where a car has pulled up onto the planting strip and sidewalk, forcing you onto the street? The whole neighborhood benefits when people get out of their houses to walk. Residents are more likely to meet up regularly with their neighbors, to keep an eye on each other’s property, to use their local parks and to patronize local businesses.
Trees increase business traffic
Studies show that the more trees and landscaping a business district has, the more business will flow in. A tree-lined street will also slow traffic – enough to allow the drivers to look at the store fronts instead of whizzing by.
Trees reduce violence
Neighborhoods and homes that are barren have shown to have a greater incidence of violence in and out of the home than their greener counterparts. Trees and landscaping help to reduce the level of fear.
Trees cool the streets and the city
Average temperatures in Los Angeles have risen 6°F in the last 50 years as tree coverage has declined and the number of heat-absorbing roads and buildings has increased.
Trees cool the city by up to 10°F, by shading our homes and streets, breaking up urban “heat islands” and releasing water vapor into the air through their leaves.
Trees conserve energy
Three trees placed strategically around a single-family home can cut summer air conditioning needs by up to 50 percent. By reducing the energy demand for cooling our houses, we reduce carbon dioxide and other pollution emissions from power plants.
Trees save water
Shade from trees slows water evaporation from thirsty lawns. Most newly planted trees need only fifteen gallons of water a week. As trees transpire, they increase atmospheric moisture.
Trees help prevent water pollution
Trees reduce runoff by breaking rainfall thus allowing the water to flow down the trunk and into the earth below the tree. This prevents stormwater from carrying pollutants to the ocean. When mulched, trees act like a sponge that filters this water naturally and uses it to recharge groundwater supplies.
Studies have shown that patients with views of trees out their windows heal faster and with less complications. Children with ADHD show fewer symptoms when they have access to nature. Exposure to trees and nature aids concentration by reducing mental fatigue.
Trees help prevent soil erosion
On hillsides or stream slopes, trees slow runoff and hold soil in place.
Trees clean the air
Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.
Trees provide oxygen
In one year an acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people.
Trees combat climate change
Excess carbon dioxide (CO2) caused by many factors is a building up in our atmosphere and contributing to climate change. Trees absorb CO2, removing and storing the carbon while releasing the oxygen back into the air. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of CO2 produced when you drive your car 26,000 miles.
Trees block things
Trees can mask concrete walls or parking lots, and unsightly views. They muffle sound from nearby streets and freeways, and create an eye-soothing canopy of green. Trees absorb dust and wind and reduce glare.