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I thought you would be interested in this article from environment: YALE magazine, the Journal of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
By Richard Conniff, Photos by Alen MacWeeney
One Saturday morning last fall, a group of New Haven teenagers took to the streets in the face of one of the city’s grimmer urban perils—Yale and Harvard football fans in cars and on foot pressing resolutely toward the Yale Bowl for The Game. The timing was bad. The teenagers were moving young trees into position for planting, with the help of a hand truck. Some of the trees were 20 feet long and weighed 300 pounds, and the drivers were in a hurry. “They didn’t give us much room to cross,” Terrance Walker, a junior at Common Ground High School, recalled recently. But it was late in the season and the group needed to get 17 trees into the ground. It was, ironically, a traffic-calming experiment, built on the hypothesis that trees can change behavior.
Neighbors on Edgewood Way had complained about speeding, and, at least in theory, narrower sightlines from a corridor of trees would slow traffic. If that didn’t work, a city official suggested, the trees would at least dampen the sound of car engines—and look good doing it. Speed bumps or other engineered remedies would have cost anywhere from $15,000 to $250,000, he said, versus $4,000 for the trees. Common Ground students will track the results for four years to see if it works, using speed data from the city.
The Edgewood Way planting was an experiment in other ways, too. A few years ago, city officials noticed that F&ES’ Urban Resources Initiative…
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