They paved paradise…

It takes time for trees to grow to maturity.

These trees and others located just beyond the business district, are slated to go next. Note the white dot above the bicycle--the mark of imminent destruction. (Photo: Radio Bob Sauter)

About 20-25 years ago, the village of Canton planted trees along its two-block business district. During the winter holiday season the trees, now large enough to have an impact, are strung with little white lights; during the summer, someone lovingly cares for baskets of bright pink petunias hung from lower limbs. The trees transformed the village–from feeling neglected to cared for.

But this week…they’re gone. As I drove to work yesterday through downtown Canton, traffic was delayed as the last tree on the north side of the street was felled.

Compare left side of street (trees not yet cut) with right side. (Photo: Radio Bob Sauter)

I know, I know. Progress. Wider road. Better sidewalks. But all I can make of it is this: it’s for cars, not people.

Sure, the NYS DOT will provide new plots of dirt to stick spindly saplings in and twenty or thirty years from now the town will have some warmth and charm again…unless the road needs more lanes before then.

The photo says it all. (Photo: Radio Bob Sauter)

Out for a walk this morning on a back road of Old DeKalb, I passed this bit of “guerrilla art” or protest humor–it had powerful resonance in the aftermath of the felling of the Canton trees.

Outdoor irony, unknown "artist."

Tell me about losses in your community–or better, about how you successfully saved something of value, ineffable though that value may be.

There used to be a tree, now there's a road cone. (Photo: Radio Bob Sauter)

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7 Responses to “They paved paradise…”

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  1. Pete Klein says:

    I think NYC is better at preserving old trees in the city than DOT is up here.
    Even in the Bronx, in front of my sister-in-law’s house, there is a huge oak that towers at least 60 ft. and branches out about the same. It takes two people to put their arms around it. The tree is very healthy and is home to numerous gray and black squirrels.

  2. mervel says:

    Its depressing.

  3. ADKinLA says:

    Out here in LA, we face similar tree-issues. The county killed a whole grove of trees just so they could dump silt from a dam project at the site, good times: http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2011/01/13/ancient-arcadia-grove-cleared-despie-tree-sitting-protest/

    I am glad to see that Canton is at least replanting after cutting down the trees; hopefully in 20-30 years they will have beautiful, large traffic cones up and down main street ;) .

  4. Terence says:

    Hate to see them gone. That picture of the bare street…

    Also, once you expand roads beyond a certain width, you lose the downtown feel that people are looking for again. What Canton thinks it’s gaining in efficiency, it may actually be losing as people stay away.

  5. Kent Gregson says:

    Wierd how gov. works. In our neck of the woods (and I mean woods), we’d like to be able to see the vistas that we remember from driving along route 28 for instance. The trees have grown to obscure the view. Many scenic overlooks no longer look over the trees and you wonder what there is to see there. Sections of the Northway that afforded the kind of scenic wonder that designated it as America’s most scenic highway are now tunnels through the trees. The way things are now it would employ more lawyers than lumber jacks to change it.

  6. Pete Klein says:

    If you can’t see the forest because the trees get in the way, hike up a mountain or go out to the middle of a lake.

  7. Rob says:

    I don’t live in Canton,but I drive through the village sometimes,and I noticed the other day all those nice trees cut.I grew up in Stockholm,NY and remember when all the trees where cut along rt.11 through the village of Winthrop back in the 70′s.I just can’t remember the PROGRESS it brought.