Master plan series introduction 10 issues..many options for successful streetscapes
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Master plan series introduction 10 issues..many options for successful streetscapes

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This is the introduction to "The Road to a Successful Street Tree Master Plan PowerPoint Series". Based on materials developed by arborist Ken Simons and University of Minnesota Professor Gary ...

This is the introduction to "The Road to a Successful Street Tree Master Plan PowerPoint Series". Based on materials developed by arborist Ken Simons and University of Minnesota Professor Gary Johnson, this series highlights the 10 "issues" most affecting Minnesota communities development of a responsible street tree master plan. There are 10 PowerPoints in the complete series. All are sequential and geared towards the end product, a complete, pragmatic and community recognized "Master Plan" for the street trees in your community.

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  • This series of “lessons” is based on the manual “The Road to a Thoughtful Street Tree Master Plan,” authored by Ken Simons and Gary Johnson. Funding for the production of the manual and this companion lesson series was provided by the Minnesota Local Road Research Board, the U.S. Forest Service/Northeastern Area, and the University of Minnesota/Department of Forest Resources.
  • Part one is an introduction to using the manual and the values of street tree master plans.
  • The Master Plan manual was specifically designed and written for those decision-makers at any public level who have the responsibility for street landscapes and/or who have the opportunity to influence how street tree landscapes are planned, developed and maintained. In most cases, these decision-makers are employed or contracted by municipalities, counties or townships. However, there are instances where state agencies impact street tree designs in communities, especially where state highways provide transportation services within a community. Regardless of the perspective, the point is that the manual was written for practitioners who may or may not have extensive experience with streetscape design principles, or plant selection and maintenance. The goal is a guideline that will yield more functional, long-lived street tree landscapes that are green assets for a community, not economic burdens or public eyesores.
  • The manual isn’t only for communities that don’t have a current master plan, although that is the primary goal. Communities that are in the process of re-building, perhaps as a result of catastrophic losses from floods or tornadoes can benefit from a fresh perspective and a new or renewed street tree master plan. In recent years, several communities in Michigan and Ohio have experienced the need to rebuild their public and private urban forests following the loss of ash trees to the emerald ash borer. Catastrophic events are difficult to predict, but they do offer opportunities to design more effective and longer-lasting street tree landscapes. Similar to re-building opportunities, communities in the planning stages of remodeling can benefit from street tree master plans. New roads, curbs, buried utility corridors and sidewalks impact the “tree lawns” where street trees reside. These changes to the infrastructure can stimulate the opportunity to change the street tree design by planning more functional planting patterns and planting more resilient and functional tree species. The bottom line is planning, though. A community wouldn’t begin building a street and sidewalk system without some kind of plan. A community wouldn’t use materials for streets, sidewalks, utilities and public lighting that wouldn’t last for a reasonable amount of time with only a reasonable amount of maintenance. The same should hold true for the street tree landscape. A well-planned street tree master plan will be more functional and economically valuable for a community than a practice of just planting trees wherever a space exists.
  • In this block only one tree remains after this wind storm. Although it’s sad that so many mature trees were lost, this is an opportunity to plan a better streetscape, learning lessons from the past to improve species selection, placement of street trees and considering more potential benefits than just lining streets with trees.
  • Remodeling streets and other public infrastructure is an on-going process in most communities that provide renewed opportunities to create new, more functional street tree master plans. The result of remodeled transportation corridor systems is hopefully to have more functional and longer-lasting streets and sidewalks. The same should hold true for the street tree landscapes.
  • The four key benefits of creating a street tree master plan: A comprehensive plan that includes the entire community landscape and provides a visionary “map” for a long period of time and that includes not only the current character of the community but the projected development of its commercial, residential and transportation infrastructure. The plan will inherently minimize those embarrassing and expensive long-term problems that resulted from short-term fixes in the past, and effectively create a landscape where trees are maintained at reasonable levels, rarely removed, and replaced on a schedule that allows them to reach the age and size necessary to truly become green assets for the community.
  • This is an example of a comprehensive blueprint at the neighborhood level. Although this is only one component of the community’s entire master plan, it illustrates one perspective of design that is becoming more critical: genetic diversity of plant materials. A genetically diverse landscape is a healthier, more disease and insect-tolerant landscape. Note that in this approximately 36 block neighborhood, 11 genera of trees were used. There are no catastrophic diseases or insect pests that will kill 11 different genera of trees, unlike the street landscapes of the past that were dominated by one or two genera…like elms.
  • Residential developments, commercial infrastructure and transportation corridors are commonly planned decades in advance. So should the street tree landscapes. A master plan will consider not only how the streetscape appears now, but how it will develop in the future. Fewer community investments will be wasted on street tree landscapes that are time-limited; rather, master plans for street landscapes can be developed to begin the basic structures, the “bones” of the landscape that will remain long after the projected infrastructure is completed.
  • Master plans “learn” from past mistakes. Tall trees in narrow boulevards are most “at-risk” for failure during wind-loading events. Planting trees more in scale with the tree lawn widths better insures that trees will reach their mature size…and stay health and safe for a long time.
  • Trees aren’t always the only victims of poor tree placement, selection and street tree designs. Too often, trees conflict with infrastructure such as the obvious damage to the sidewalk in this situation. Ironically, the recent repair to the sidewalk as evidenced by the new concrete color involved cutting the offending roots of the boulevard tree which in turn left the mature tree unstable and vulnerable to the wind storm that swept through this community. A smaller statured tree, a wider boulevard, a tree placement within the right-of-way yet to the other side of the sidewalk could have avoided this situation. A thoughtful street tree master plan learns from past mistakes and creates more winnable situations.
  • Utility conflicts above ground are also the result of poor plant selection, placement and acknowledgement that utility lines stay the same distance above ground but trees don’t. The solution is not to avoid all trees where utility lines exist. The solution is a long-term plan that accommodates both utilities and trees, just not in the exact same spaces. Trees under power lines are often victims to pruning schedules every five to eight years. Every time those trees are severely pruned, their value to the community is diminished.
  • A comprehensive blueprint or the street tree master plan considers more than drawing trees on a street map. It identifies the areas where additions of trees would maximize quality of life benefits for a community: shaded streets and sidewalks, blocked winds or unsightly views, interrupted rainwater and reduced storm water run-off into storm sewers to name a few.
  • Quality of life is a multi-faceted character of urban forests. It includes options for reflection, recreation, calming, cooling shade in the summer, or blocked winds in the winter.
  • Imagine this scene without the street trees. Although the trees on private property significantly add to the quality of life, street trees complete the picture and make public spaces such as boulevards and medians more useful community amenities.
  • A sea of asphalt, overhead wires, commercial signage…not a very pleasant and relaxing commute for those forced to use this road. Imagine what a difference this scene would be with street trees and the accompanying business area plantings? Imagine how much more enjoyable the drive would be for a commuter.
  • It doesn’t take much imagination to envision what a couple of rows of street trees could do for the character of this community and shopping areas. Add in some complementary street lighting and the experience is much more pleasant.
  • Modify the architecture, move the storefronts closer to the street, and the character of the original community has completely changed…still with the originally suggested core group of street trees. Now the lifeless, “can’t wait to get out of here” transportation corridor is an area of commerce, recreation, and community.
  • Yes, it’s a beautiful tree-lined median, but more importantly it’s a recreational area for the neighborhood community.
  • In urban areas where amorphic surfaces dominate the landscape, often covering 75% or more of the surface, the environmental impact of street trees is grossly obvious. Anything that will either intercept or slow down rain from reaching storm sewers is a benefit. Anything that will lessen the necessity for constant air conditioning in the summer is a benefit. Anything that will capture particulates from the air that people breathe is a benefit.
  • Shaded pavement absorbs and emits less heat. Lowering the heat island effect, even at the neighborhood level makes the area more pleasant to live in and reduces the amount of energy consumed to cool nearby homes.
  • But the wrong tree species in the wrong spot can do more harm than good. This situation is not the fault of the tree; it’s the fault of the design that specified this tree species in this spot. Many other tree species could have shaded the street and sidewalk without damaging the infrastructure.
  • Without a well-planned streetscape, the character of a community can be either non-existent or unintentional. What does this scene tell you about this community? Any reason to linger and spend some time here? Is this a community or just a series of commercial buildings lining a highway?
  • Now, compare this scene with the previous. This represents a simple street tree landscape that not only serves several useful functions, but defines the character of this community: verdant versus a sea of pavement; inviting commercial district; a slower pace of life that is pedestrian-friendly. All of those positive characteristics for this community would be lost if the trees were removed.
  • In summary, a Street Tree Master Plan takes lessons from the past, projects to the future, and better ensures that street trees will serve multiple functions for both transportation corridors and pedestrian corridors in a healthy, safe and economically conscientious manner.

Master plan series introduction 10 issues..many options for successful streetscapes Master plan series introduction 10 issues..many options for successful streetscapes Presentation Transcript

  • The Road to a Thoughtful Ten Issues…Many Options for Successful Streetscapes
    • Funding for the Manual:
    • U.S. Forest Service
    • MN Local Road Research Board
    • UMN Department of Forest Resources
  • Part One: An Introduction to Proactive Tree Selection and Placement
    • Decision-Makers
      • Agencies
      • Regional or Community Elected Officials
      • Urban Planners
      • City Engineers
      • Landscape Architects
      • Municipal Foresters
    • Communities Without a Master Plan
    • Re-Building Communities
    • Re-Modeling Communities
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    • Provides a Comprehensive Blueprint
    • Integrates Current and Projected Infrastructure
    • Minimizes Long-Term Effects of Short-Term Mistakes
    • Designs an Affordable Urban Forest
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    • Quality of Life
    • Different Land Uses
    • Environmental Benefits
    • Transportation Infrastructure
    • Defines Community Character
  • Image from the Metropolitan Design Center Image Bank. Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. Used with permission
  • Image from the Metropolitan Design Center Image Bank. Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. Used with permission
  • Image from Used with permission
  • Image from Used with permission
  • Image from Used with permission
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  • Image from the Metropolitan Design Center Image Bank. Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. Used with permission
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