UKTC Archive

RE: Trees and Speed

Subject: RE: Trees and Speed
From: Fursdon, Lloyd
Date: Dec 01 2000 16:44:29
Interesting points.  Here in Torquay we still have a number of streets with
mature trees (mainly Platanus and Tilia spp) that are situated in the
highway rather than in the pavement.  These, I believe were largely down to
Victorian planting schemes along what would have orginally been metalled
roads with porous surfaces.  Although over the years the trees have been
subjected to development pressures and numerous road resurfacings they
continue to grow very well under the circumstances of such a hostile
environment.  They are certainly very important visual features and add
greatly to the historic value of the our streets, but we have never actually
monitored them for their speed calming effect.  

Thinking about it, we have had (to date) little or vertually no safety
problems whatsoever that I know of, probably due to the fact that they are
so obvious.  Most people do understand that if their vehicle has a argument
with a mature tree then it generally comes out a lot worse off. 

There is a continual conflict of interest between us Arbs and our engineers,
but hopefully this may help to reinforce my argument on why I place alot of
importance on keeping these historic avenues going and insist on restocking
them in the same fashion. 

Something to think about anyway.

-----Original Message-----
From: Tony Ash []
Sent: 01 December 2000 15:33
To:   UK Tree Care
Subject:      RE: Trees and Speed

This rings a bell.  I remember coming across something to do with tree
streets having the effect of slowing down traffic.  I shall think hard
the weekend, so if you hear a grinding noise in the East London area, its
brain trying to get into gear.  Hopefully somebody else reading this may
know of the particular research.

It seems to make sense; if you were driving along a flat barren stretch of
road, you wouldn't have the same perception of speed and may be inclined
drive fast;  whereas a tree lined road may have the opposite effect due to
the parallax effect;  i.e. distant objects appearing to move slowly while
near objects move by much quicker although you are driving along at the
speed.  So tree lined streets may make you think you are driving faster
you are so you may be inclined to slow down more.  Mind you, I don't think
the local joyriders give 2 hoots about the parallax effect. 

The other way to do it, of course, is to plant trees in the road rather
on the pavement.  That'll make the bounders slow down!!  We have old
photographs here showing some old Chestnuts actually growing in the road
just off the side of the pavement.  Needless to say, they've now gone and
been replaced by (not) fastigiate hornbeam, mundanely sitting on the
pavement.  Highway engineers just aren't imaginative these days! 



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