Tag Archives: Plum St. reconstruction

For Oak St. reconstruction, 30-foot street width and trees adjacent to curb were fine. Why not for N. Plum St.?

Oak Street between 2nd and 3rd Tree adjacent to curb on Oak Street between 2nd and 3rd Oak Street between 2nd and 3rd Trees adjacent to curb on Oak Street between 2nd and 3rd 
While riding my bike over to the Upper Arb tonight, I noticed that two trees on Oak St. between 2nd and 3rd were very close to the curb, one especially. I’m not sure when the reconstruction of the street occurred but it looks relatively recent, eg, in the last 5-7 years.

I dug around the City’s website and found that the street was reconstructed at a width of 30 feet. The issue came up when the Council was considering street reconstruction issues in 2007 for the 5th Street Reconstruction Project, including the width of Oak St. between 4th and 5th. See pages 28-29 of the Feb. 2007 Council meeting packet (italics mine):

Staff identified advantages to a narrower street including less expense for construction and ongoing future maintenance, more ability to protect existing mature trees, less impervious pavement, and potential traffic calming effects. Parking and problems and possible safety issues with varying street widths in the area were discussed…

One objection to proceeding was the proposed width of Oak Street. Oak Street between 5th and 4th Street is currently 29.5 feet, the two blocks of Oak Street north of this area between 4th and 2nd Street were reconstructed at a street width of 30 feet. The recommended width for Oak Street at this time is the minimal 32 feet for a residential street per current City ordinance.

To summarize:

  • Despite the city ordinance, Oak Street between 2nd and 3rd was reconstructed at 30 ft, which is what the N. Plum St. residents were asking for
  • At least two trees on Oak St. were not cut down despite being very close to the curb. N. Plum St. residents were asking for this for many of their non-Ash trees.
  • City rationale for cutting down trees close to the curb on N. Plum St. is that the trees are not likely to survive. Yet the Oak St. trees look very healthy years (5? 7?) later.
  • Staff in 2007 (which included Katy Gehler, then assistant city engineer) noted the advantages of narrower streets including "more ability to protect existing mature trees."

There are some differences between this portion of Oak St. and N. Plum St: 1) Oak St. between 2nd and 3rd has a sidewalk on one side only;  2) there are no power poles/electrical wires to be seen. 

To an average citizen (me), this is perplexing and seems unfair. Or am I missing something?

N. Plum St. neighbors gather to ‘honor and thank our trees’

N. Plum St. neighbors N. Plum St. neighbors
My  wife Robbie and I stopped by to meet some of the N. Plum St. neighbors and take their photo as they gathered around one tree they’re still hoping to save and one that was taken down.

Resident Angie Ekern added this comment to the discussion thread yesterday afternoon:

Our trees…gone but not forgotten! Please join us tonight, Thursday, at 6pm on Plum Street to honor and thank our trees. Walk our street in a moment of silence and stand tall with us as we take the time to say good bye and thank you for years and years of beauty!

Advice from a Tree
By Ilan Shamir

Dear Friend,

Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter

Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light

Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Be flexible
Remember your roots

Enjoy the view!

Some N. Plum St. residents are unhappy about plans to remove trees for street reconstruction

 North Plum St., east side  North Plum St., east side  North Plum St., east side

  North Plum St., west side  North Plum St., west side  North Plum St., west side
I was alerted by some North Plum St. residents that they’re unhappy with the City of Northfield’s plan to cut down some of the big trees on their street, part of the Linden St N/Plum St N/2nd St W street reconstruction project that’s about to begin.  I took the above photos this morning.

There are a number of variables to consider, of course, when trying to decide about saving trees during street reconstruction, e.g., street width, boulevard width, sidewalks on both sides or not, condition of/types of/size of trees, which side of the street the gas/sewer lines will go, and probably several more.

Elm St. between 4th and 5th  Elm St. between 4th and 5th
In the past, the City has sometimes accommodated residents’ concerns about big trees.  For example, the sidewalk was routed around two big trees on Elm St. between 4th and 5th a few years ago, as the above photos show.

Looking at the Project Process page, the City had 3 neighborhood meetings last fall. "Neighborhood Tour & Individual Property Owner Meetings" are scheduled for April/May.

It’s not clear to me to what extent residents have participated in these meetings and voiced their objections, nor what the city engineering staff’s response has been.

Maybe discussion here can help.

Update 5/14 9:30 am:

tree at 309 N. Linden st.  tree at 309 N. Linden st.  trees at 315 N. Linden st.  trees at 315 N. Linden st.
Here are photos of two homes on the west side of N. Linden St., (309 and 315) before and after the big (maple?) trees were cut down this week.

Update 5/20 7:30 am:

Here’s a one-minute video of the trees of N. Plum St. (pre-reconstruction) heading north between St. Olaf Ave. and Greenvale Ave. My apologies for the shakiness. I was holding the camera with one hand while driving.