Queens Plaza:
Infrastructure Reframed

Image courtesy of Marpillero Pollak Architects

The Queens Plaza Bicycle and Pedestrian Landscape Improvement Project transforms the tangle of urban infrastructure cutting through Long Island City from a harsh, disorienting industrial maze into a lush, navigable landscape, a gateway to Long Island City that organizes various flows and scales while providing a refuge for residents, workers and the road-weary. The urban and landscape design unites the surrounding neighborhoods and restores the connection between the city and the river. The project spans 1.3 miles, revitalizes JFK Park and connects it to the dramatic water’s edge below the Queensboro Bridge.

The design team included landscape designers Margie Ruddick with the firm WRT Design, architects and urban designers Marpillero Pollak Architects and the artist Michael Singer. The Department of City Planning and NYC’s Economic Development Corporation are the client agencies, and the project is one of the first to follow the City’s High-Performance Infrastructure Guidelines. I recently sat down with Margie Ruddick, Sandro Marpillero and Linda Pollak to talk about how the project seeks to redefine the idea of nature in the city, integrating infrastructure, art and ecology. -C.S.

Site of JFK Park from above. Photo courtesy of Marpillero Pollak Architects

Urban Omnibus: Tell me about Queens Plaza.

Sandro Marpillero: Historically, it’s a layering of several phases of intervention. First came the Queensboro bridge, in 1909. Then came one installment of the Elevated, the one that corresponds to the N/W/7 today. And then some years later, another layer of subway came in, which prompted the transformation of the elevated station, just west of what will be JFK Park. As part of the overall transformation of the bridge, the upper deck – previously devoted to rail and subway – became car traffic. The introduction of car traffic brought about the immense ramps that encircle Silvercup studios. This is where the main focus of our intervention is, but it’s part of an ongoing transformation of a 1.3 mile stretch.

Historical view under the Elevated. Image courtesy of Marpillero Pollak Architects

In the 1930s, as the station was restructured, some of the original portions of the structure were chopped back. That becomes an important moment for our intervention.

Because you have a multiple-level system: the lower portion has been partially demolished, and the top level is extremely active, so seems particularly complex…

Linda Pollak: … And chaotic.

Queens Plaza. Photo: Nick Buccelli

Urban Omnibus: What were the City’s main objectives for this project?

Margie Ruddick: Generally speaking, to reclaim Queens Plaza as a place that people want to be in, a place that people understand how to move through, and a place that is green. In 2002, this was the first RFP that we’d ever gotten with a sustainability agenda; now every RFP you get puts sustainability front and center.

Urban Omnibus: And what are some of the ways in which you thought about sustainability when approaching this project?

Sandro Marpillero: You can think of the discourse of sustainability as a different way to understand timespan. Rather than looking at building as a matter of the shortest, most convenient way of doing things, we reinscribe the act of building within a process that belongs to history. I think we should reinvest existing pieces of city not only with value but also with the possibility of fulfilling a task.

Margie Ruddick: The idea that something hard, urban and harsh can operate ecologically – that’s something that isn’t yet in the everyday language of landscape architecture. This kind of approach to landscape is slowly but surely becoming much more prevalent. Particularly in Oregon and Washington State, where the flow of water is much more visible: you can really see how the plants are thriving due to sub-surface drainage and downspouts being let out into park spaces. The whole cycle of water is much more visible.

Constituent elements. Diagram courtesy of Margie Ruddick Landscape

Linda Pollak: In terms of sustainability, a very important concept for us is ‘salvage,’ and I think that’s one aspect of our practice that encouraged Margie to involve us in the Queens Plaza project. ‘Salvage,’ for me, incorporates the need to understanding a site’s historical formation by much larger scale infrastructural events or systems. Understanding and acknowledging the historical formation of a building or site – its architectural and political construction – allows you to intervene in order to reconstruct it. Green infrastructure, I think, has a lot to do with salvage or recycling or reuse and we definitely brought that to bear on Queens Plaza.

Sandro Marpillero: It’s a little bit different than the twentieth century discourse of preservation that has to do more with the accredited value in cultural terms that an artifact might have fulfilled. I think our attitude about recycling or salvage is much more about being able to see how existing pieces of our cities, of our buildings, can perform in relationship to new operational challenges. It’s not so much a matter of preserving and invoking the past as model, as of reframing the role that existing sites and buildings and infrastructures can have.

Margie Ruddick: We were also very keen to infuse something of the personal back into the work. Amanda Burden [chair of the City Planning Commission; director of the New York City Department of City Planning] was very insistent that there be social eating space, for example. The personal scale is really important.

To that end, a broad swath of Ironwood trees will arc along the Elevated at JFK Park, enfolding the refuge-like park landscape. A river of understory trees will meander within the park, and then along the medians, down to the river. This immersive green landscape alters the conventional notion of what an urban park can be.

View from the bridge. Image courtesy of Marpillero Pollak Architects and WRT Design

Urban Omnibus: It changes our perception of what an urban park can be? How so?

Margie Ruddick: In formal terms, rather than using a harsh, urban language, we tried to find a language through which lushness and beauty could coexist with the hard edge of infrastructure. The linear landscape of medians and streetscape meet in JFK Park, and this convergence, for me, challenges the notion of an urban park because its surroundings are so inhospitable. This juxtaposition would have seemed inappropriate several years ago. But these days it’s becoming more prevalent.

We tried to find a language through which lushness and beauty could coexist with the hard edge of infrastructure.

Five or seven years ago, architects and everybody who saw our plans for Queens Plaza thought it was incongruous to have such a lush landscape on that kind of site. But now images from Queens Plaza are being used as a powerful precedent for an expressive language in a complex infrastructural context.

And beyond the material dimension, it alters our common perception of an urban park because it is not bounded; rather, it takes place in these skinny slivers. Even something like the High Line is bounded – even though it’s linear, it has a boundary. The Queens Plaza project is part of a street network but will operate as a park.

Under the viaduct. Photo: Nick Buccelli

Margie Ruddick: Another aspect of the design that really distinguishes this park is the ways we deal with stormwater. All site stormwater is filtered through subsurface wetlands and median plantings. The artist Michael Singer worked with Linda, Sandro and ourselves to create a system of interlocking, permeable pavers that can manage and filter stormwater through various kinds of plantings, or serve as hard walking surfaces.

Michael also designed these beautiful edge pavers with a little curve on the side. When you put two of them together there’s a little peephole where the water flows from the paver down into the planting. It’s a really beautiful detail, just a little notch that allows the water to flow down.

Permeable pavers. Image: Michael Singer Studio

Urban Omnibus: Are there other projects that you’re aware of that you find particularly exemplary of this kind of integration of ecology and infrastructure?

Margie Ruddick: Some streetscapes in Portland, Oregon, and another beautiful little project in Portland is the ecotrust parking lot. Also some projects in Germany. I think when we started it we were on the leading edge but now it really is becoming the norm. I’ve also been working with Enric Ruiz-Geli, an architect from Barcelona, and his firm Cloud 9 on a number of projects that promote the notion that great infrastructure can actually operate at the level of a park and make the landscape really perform: generating energy, dealing with big urban infrastructure issues, contributing to water quality and equity. And I think that’s what really exciting about the work that Enric and Cloud 9 are doing is that it’s also operating on the level of art.

The idea is to create an urban canopy that will visually organize what is already there.

Sandro Marpillero: I think there is more and more awareness about the immense resource that a piece of infrastructure can be. Repurposing of the city can make a dinosaur into an incredible asset. It feels like there is starting to be an awareness of a wealth of public space, previously unnoticed. The potential is incredible; these places are magic.

Linda Pollak: They may be noisy, dirty, not without challenges. They’re also amazing. The High Line is a great example: the spaces underneath that are turned into places as well as the park on top.

In order to do very little – to make the small moves that effect a major transformation – you have to know a lot. And to perform localized interventions in an extremely fragmented, incoherent site like Queens Plaza, requires a broad and informed view. You have to identify any possible affiliations or similarities between existing infrastructures that had nothing to do with each other when originally conceived. For example, the Elevated at Queens Plaza was built in a context of thinking that infrastructure was just infrastructure, there was no thought that it could contribute to or provide public space.

Subway viaduct at Queensborough Bridge landing. Image courtesy of Marpillero Pollak Architects

As architects and urban designers, we set about identifying a framework of site systems that could bridge from the existing to the new, from the industrial to the residential/commercial, from the large-scale transportation infrastructure to pedestrian and cyclist routes. The idea was not to end up with streetscapes that were merely decorative or “greening” for the sake of an amenity: the idea was to make a new place.

The site is completely dominated by the Elevated, visually; you can’t take a picture in Queens Plaza where you don’t see it. But most plans of the site do not register the presence of the Elevated. It’s more comfortable not to acknowledge it. In some ways our job as urban designers is to keep the Elevated in the picture – literally.

Before and after. Images courtesy Marpillero Pollak and WRT Design.

Sandro Marpillero: The lower tracks and beams, that portion of the Elevated that is no longer used, are still there. Because they are in between street level and the uppermost level where the train still runs, this intersection comes at odd angles and make the overall impression extremely complicated and difficult to read.

Our strategy for the treatment of the Elevated is to address two aspects of its historical layering. Number one is to make its constituent modules legible. And number two is to highlight the presence of these abandoned tracks, to offer a wayfinding clue, especially at the intersection between Jackson Avenue and Queens Plaza.

Margie Ruddick: Marpillero Pollak Architects’ design transforms the structure of the Elevated, which now appears as a tangle of steel, into an elegant lantern-like series of sculptural spaces suspended above the flow of people and traffic below.

Sandro Marpillero: A minimal intervention of flexible stainless steel mesh within the structural bays allows passersby to see, and to read, the structure as a rhythmic series of volumes. It is a rethinking of the geometry of these voids within the substructure. Leni Schwendinger has brought to the project her creativity and experience about the relation between lighting and steel mesh.

Mesh lantern bays. Image courtesy of Marpillero Pollak Architects

Linda Pollak: And you would be amazed at the power one of these elements can have. Even as I was drawing the light lines canopy at Jackson Avenue, I felt it as a huge art installation: it transforms the Elevated. Because of its fragmentary nature, it is susceptible to transformation by wrapping. And the idea that you get this urban canopy for a fraction of the cost of building… it’s a solution that could only be seen by understanding the formation of the place.

Amanda Burden really wanted JFK Park to have the sense of being a refuge. The challenge is to accomplish that and also to facilitate the flows in and out of the refuge, and acknowledge the other flows: the trains and the traffic. Those elements could become a burdensome distractions at best, more likely a tremendous disturbance. But if, through structure and light, the imminent arrival of a train can become an event – one that excites kids and plays with the existing rhythms of the infrastructural system – if that can happen, then some aspect of the flow and the scale of the train have been engaged at the individual scale. At the scale of a person down on the ground, enjoying the park, and registering the presence of the train in a positive way. That engagement makes the arriving train part of public space, not a noisome distraction from it.

Repurposing of the city can make a dinosaur into an incredible asset. The potential is incredible; these places are magic.

Providing some sense of legibility will remake the public space. It does not decorate it. It integrates across scales, from benches and street furniture to landscape and topography. With the elements that Michael Singer made, the pavers, the runnels and the bench slabs are all of the same fine grain. They connect different pieces of landscape, they intersect easily with the pathways, and they relate to the planting. All of us tried to leverage Michael Singer’s contribution as much as possible. We expanded the role and the reach of art on the site, integrating it into the various systems.

Margie Ruddick: For example, the benches that Marpillero Pollak and Michael Singer designed bring the language of the ground-plane landscape into relief.

Linda Pollak: The Elevated, the intense traffic – these also are flows. And the Elevated has a certain transparency. Amanda Burden was clear that she did not want the design to interfere with that transparency. It’s sort of a filigree. The shadows and the light have a qualitative dimension. The idea is to create an urban canopy that will visually organize what is already there without filling it up.

Medians. Image courtesy of Margie Ruddick Landscape

Margie Ruddick: The interplay between refuge and connective tissue may seem difficult to reconcile at first, but landscape designers and landscape architects have been harmonizing these two objectives from time immemorial – it’s a kind of sleight of hand. When you look at Central Park, you may only see green landscape, but the planning is porous: the ways you get in, get out and are conducted across it. It’s a perforated landscape.

Linda Pollak: It is, ultimately, a bicycle and pedestrian improvement project – about flows. Facilitating movement, for pedestrians and cyclists, is not only about movement; it’s also about wayfinding. Pedestrians emerge from the subway disoriented. We wanted the place to ground you somewhere.

Queens Plaza North. Image courtesy of Margie Ruddick Landscape and Marpillero Pollak Architects


 

Interview conducted, edited and condensed by Cassim Shepard.



16 Responses to “Queens Plaza:
Infrastructure Reframed”

  1. This is a really fantastic article, a great subject, and exciting news. When will it actually get built?

  2. Varick Shute says:

    The Furman Center’s PlanNYC site lists a completion date of Spring 2011. Anyone else have more info? Let us know in the comments.

    -UO

  3. Steve Scofield says:

    Looks wonderful. One slight historical error – although service to the old north half of the station was discontinued in 1940, it was not demolished and the “lower level” tracks were not removed until 1963, just prior to the Worlds Fair, so for 23 years the northern half of Queensboro Plaza was covered by an abandoned station, identical to the current station with two platforms, upper and lower, four tracks, and and a lot more abandoned steel work than you see now.

  4. Elisabeth says:

    I have lived three blocks from the bridge for 12 years. this is very exciting for our neighborhood! Is there any room in there for a dog park? We have a lot of dogs in the neighborhood with nowhere to play.

  5. Paco says:

    Refreshing to see such thought go into the design, and even more impressive is seeing it be encouraged at the government level. My only gripe looking at the sketches… how ridiculously wide is the roadbed in the final diagram? This must be an image in progress, because it screams for more street calming with a bike lane (why not a protected bike lane) to the bridge, neckdowns, maybe even a different surface texture for the pedestrian crosswalk?! Either way, looking forward to the redesign.

  6. Richard Allen says:

    OH OH we have gridlock …..taking up that much space for a walkway, means severe traffic backups…

    you have 4 lanes and a 5 lane from 28th st merging into 2 it is obvious the people that designed this don’t drive

    plus trucks cant use the upper deck so where are they to go?

    This is fantasy land…and a bamboozle of taxpayers money

    PS busses are going to make a sharp left turn to get on the bridge?

  7. Stefano Sipperelli says:

    I have been searching for a comprehensive overview of this project for quite some time and so glad to have come across this fantastic article. I have been looking down on this area from the subway above for years and eagerly anticipate this much needed transformation. I hope to see some actual work soon.

  8. Chris De Stefano says:

    For heaven’s sake, it’s Queensboro Plaza NOT Queens Plaza. Queens Plaza is a subway stop 6 blocks away and has nothing to do with this area.

    Please be historically correct if you are going to use our tax money to transform our birthplace into your image of what you think it should be. At the very least you should respect the neighborhood’s native and long term residents. At the very least. But this is asking a bit too much I’m afraid these days.

    Nothing of this design will alleviate traffic, in fact, it will cause more traffic due to bottle-necking. Rerouting of trucks alone will congest this area even more and cause more air pollution from idling engines.

    It’s all fine and dandy to propose tall trees and acoustical baffles, but in reality, almost every tree has been cut down to make way for luxury condos and more concrete that are sitting mostly unrented now due to the very thinking that is bringing more job loss to New York City. Greed. Tall trees take 50 to 100 or so years to grow, not 2. Luxury condos are unsustainable and wasteful in a depressed world economy that will be upon us for the next generation. Face it. Others have. You must as well.

    This is a historically commercial area and now most of this commerce has been driven out and torn down. Even the iconic bank with clock tower is gone which could have been easily transformed into something viable by using a little foresight. Like an area for middle class jobs, but even Met Life is now gone from the area, taking over 26 million in tax breaks that the Giuliani administration handed over to them to come here in the first place with them. Now the same things have been done for billionaire luxury condo developers that have no prospects for filling their buildings with people. What a dismal waste of resources and tax money. The middle class homeowner is left holding the check by having our taxes go up to pay for this corruption and nonsense.

    Forty years ago this was a bustling, viable commercial area with it’s local residents supporting this commerce on a daily basis, now it is a wasteland due to handing over our land to the rich who have no connection to our area and have thus destroyed it by remaking it into THEIR image and THEIR image ALONE with no input and respect for people who are from here. This is a process of narrow thinking and lobbying has to be stopped and NOT encouraged to take over what little is left of Queens County.

    The bulldozing of Dutch Kills has infuriated it’s native residents, Queens West has turned a quiet Italian-American community into a wall of uber rich overlooking a community that has no voice at all into what goes on in their midst and Astoria is now the land of 20 story concrete block housing crowding out our historically quiet and family-oriented enclave causing massive flooding to our 2 family homes due to the lack of natural drainage of lost front, side and backyards.

    Your proposals are fantasies that ultimately destroy the fabric of New York City. We should be looking to the vision of European cities such as Berlin and Rome and Stockholm where progress takes into account the historically correct notions of how those cities have been planned and are careful not to destroy the environment by wisely capping overdevelopment, which has been sorely lacking in New York for the last 8 years due to the severe lack of foresight of the Bloomberg administration.

    I’m all for progress if it is viable and ultimately sustainable. New York City is no longer viable OR sustainable in the least.

  9. Confused says:

    This project is a long time coming. Hopefully people will begin to see that adding traffic lanes begets more traffic. The reverse is also true in this transit-rich, park-poor area. I never ceased to be amazed that people fight against projects that would significantly improve their quality of life. Do people honestly want larger roadways instead of parks there?

  10. Linda Pollak says:

    Queens Plaza or Queensboro Plaza?

    The Queensboro Plaza station–shared between the 7 Train (IRT Flushing Line) and N and W Trains (BMT Astoria Line–is a two level elevated station, whose upper level serves Queens-bound trains, and lower level serves Manhattan-bound trains.

    The Queens Plaza subway station, serving the E, R, V, and G trains(IND Queens Boulevard Line), is underground, at JFK Commuter Triangle, at the intersection of Queens Plaza, Queens Boulevard, Jackson Avenue, and Northern Boulevard.

    Queens Plaza North and Queens Plaza South are the names of the roadway running east-west. Queens Plaza South is beneath the elevated (NW7) trains.

    As noted on the website http://www.forgotten-ny.com, “… Queens Plaza: the gateway to Queens, [is] the first thing many motorists see when arriving via the Queensboro Bridge (known by Manhattanites as the 59th Street Bridge), and the first stop on the BMT from Manhattan….”

  11. Judith Earley says:

    It’s the garbled postmodern lexicon that’s the most annoying. It gives the unfortunate impression that you are students trying to please teachers. I agree with Chris de Stephano: this is a real world and real people’s lives you’re dealing with. You can talk about history, but it seems you only know the history of the images you researched. I suggest you read Anne Whiston Spirn and Michael Hough and drop the off-putting pretend theory.

    I don’t mean to squelch your dreams, but a little more humility, please. There have been workers in this field for longer than you seem to realize.

  12. It is heartening that this article is one of the “most read” on Urban Omnibus.

    Hello from the lighting designer of the Queens Plaza project, and thank you to Sandro for mentioning our participation. Light Projects joined in the project later than most of the design team. I wanted to underscore the persistence and hard work that the WRT and MPA have put into this complex project – not only is the area itself fraught with every kind of difficulty imaginable, but the number of city/state agencies to coordinate for approvals was a major job in itself.

    I am very excited, even with the many compromises that we had to make, to see this project break ground. Which it did on August 3rd – here is my blog entry to mark that day.

    http://lenischwendinger.wordpr.....-3rd-2009/

  13. Linda Pollak says:

    check out photos of queens plaza construction at http://mpstudio.dphoto.com/#/album/1a253p

  14. C W Glaeser, Ph.D ASCA says:

    Since the first phase of the Queensboro Plaza project is nearly complete one finds the opportunity here to review the project results with a very critical eye. With much repeat rhetoric by the Mayor and heads of numerous City agencies on PLANYC and on their love and care for our trees in the urban landscape- one really wonders. This QBP project is cited in the NYC DPR Capital High Performance Landscape Guideline (Dec 2010) as a street scape model for Green & Sustainable design. My review with regard to the treatment of public trees during construction earns the project an “F” for Failure.

    There are some positive elements in this EDC project, yet the HPLG document specifically devotes detail to ecology, soils, hydrology, site planning etc., and the treatment of existing, irreplaceable shade trees in the landscape during construction. The tree matter is most pressing here for QBP because of their current value and contribution to an otherwise bleak, concrete and steel urban landscape. That the City and its designers decided that the dozen oaks should remain is one thing. The failing grade however is for the absence of effective arboricultural care of those trees during the construction phase. That is, the full implementation and enforcement of tree and landscape protection protocols (that protect primarily root zone) as called for in the HPLG document. See HPLG Section V.I. PROTECT EXISTING VEGETATION. V.10 IMPROVE STREET TREE HEALTH.

    What was observed was “business as usual” with the mistreatment and abuse of established public trees. Where it occurred, one observed the physical tearing and ripping of critical tree roots in order to minimize tree growing space for the altering of the Plaza island medians- without a critical review whether EDC and their architects should be allowed do that. There were other tree abuses clearly unacceptable in any standard arboricultural practice. This all occurred with the known consequences to tree health when simple and straight forward tree and landscape protection plans are not implemented and enforced.

    By not providing these trees with optimum site conditions during construction, the public once again will see potentially large growing canopy oak trees follow the same irreversible, spiraling pattern of declining health as with other established trees on City infrastructure projects elsewhere. Now rootless and root damaged, their fate in forthcoming years (perhaps within the decade) is to eventually be cut down and removed.

    I asked the same question: Why would the City allow that to happen? The answer is that the crucial dialogue among all parties about tree protection never occurred. And to expend the necessary resources in order to protect and preserve existing trees is unheard of by institutions like NYC EDC. Unfortunately it is new tree planting that has gotten everyone so excited.

    I am sure we can do better if all the professional voices with their vetted expertise are kept in the discussion loop for the duration of projects such as this.

  15. Kim Mulcahy says:

    Regarding the trashing of the existing trees, one photograph on the designer’s web page referenced above is particularly telling. Two of the designers are sitting on a bench mock-up and looking at each other with pleasure. I assume because it’s a nice bench, but right behind them you clearly see all the trees which are being trashed.

    Yes, there is impressive-looking orange trunk protection surrounding the tree trunks. But good lord what do you think happened to all the tree roots both before this pic was taken and after? You realize that over 90% of the tree roots are outside the orange box and almost all are right under the soil surface. Or rather were. Outside the orange protection, the soil has clearly been excavated, re-graded, churned, gouged, ripped and compated by months of construction activity. Mr. Glaeser’s remarks are depressingly correct.

    What the picture tells me is that these green designers are completely ignorant about trees, in even the most basic ways, or they would never have allowed so many pics like this on their website. They just don’t get it. I understand that education about trees in the profession is virtually non-existant, but don’t they at least have enough respect for the subject to make tree experts a decision-making part of the team?

    This project like so many others can tell us why in an age of greening this and LEEDS that the tree canopy of our urban forest continues to visibly, palpably shrink. Answer: the wrong people are making all the decisions.

  16. Naomi Zurcher says:

    And, to continue the discussion of the “tree” aspect of this project, it’s not the first time this has happened. It’s a very old and sad story. The Tree Expert – Consulting Arborists (CA), who are steeped in the knowledge and understanding of how to design a “tree friendly” construction project that protects and preserves trees within the work zone and still allows the construction to proceed, are not included in the design team.

    In this day and age, CA’s have the skills to preserve and protect enough of a tree’s root zone to enable it to withstand construction. Landscape Architects are not a substitute for tree experts. Neither are Engineers. They have their expertise but not when it comes to understanding the relationship between what a tree needs to survive and how a project should be shaped so that trees that should be preserved are protected.

    Being “green” does not mean one has the tools and skills to define the protocols necessary for adequate tree protection. CA’s or their equivalent must be included in the design team so the resulting Project Specifications and Contract Documents provide the essential required procedures and strategies. Waiting for the construction phase to implement anything to protect trees is too late. The decisions on how to proceed to avoid tree root damage are not in place and so, the damage cannot be avoided. Sadly, from personal observations, there’s NO interest in avoiding the damage – not from the Contractor, who doesn’t know any better, nor from the designers, who clearly do not have the necessary knowledge, nor from the client – the City – who should and does know better but can’t be bothered.

    The removal of all tree protection strategies from PlaNYC tells us that preserving those parts of our urban forest that ACTUALLY DO the environmental and health-related work we’ve come to associate with trees is not at all important. We see the disdain the City has for the monarchs of our urban forest over and over again, on every project where the voice representing our public trees was excluded from the decision-making project design table.

    As a taxpayer and a professional, I say SHAME on the City for the abuse of an essential public resource. In rebuttal, I’m sure we’ll hear about all the trees that the City has been planting during the million tree initiative. Most professionals – tree experts – I know would agree -MOST of the trees being planted will not survive for a variety of avoidable reasons: plant material so poor it should never have been planted; improper planting techniques including planting too deep and not watering the trees in once they’ve been planted; no follow up on watering during the 2-year establishment period; planting sites that are too close together and on and on.

    Taxpayers should be appalled by the negligence, abuse and disregard for such an important part of their City – our urban forest. We and our trees deserve better!

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