Letters to the Editor 4/25/19
LET’S HAVE A TREE COMMISSION
In response to Bruce Rushton’s opinion piece (“I love trees,” April 11), I love the idea of having a tree commission so much that I would even like to serve on it.
I can understand how we came to have a tree shortage, reason one being that they take up room that is required by motor vehicles. But lately, our ash trees (including one in my yard) have been removed due to the ash borer. And for nuisance reasons, sweet gums have been taken down a lot as well.
Many trees that are planted along streets fail because they are surrounded by impermeable pavement; their roots have no access to water. Many are also planted in situations where their branches have no room, so they end up getting lopped off hideously. Bottom line, plantings should be appropriate to the space they are to occupy.
It is also important to realize that landscaping is a long-term responsibility. A tree commission would need to do more than just plug trees into sidewalk grates and walk away; it must create and rigorously maintain integrated green spaces that include shrubs and flowers as well as trees.
The reason for creating green spaces, instead of dotting trees along streets, is to build a microclimate of cooling shade and a canopy that funnels breezes. This reduces the urban heat from walls and pavement, and therefore reduces energy use – something to think about as the globe warms.
This is no little thing; this is not just prettying up our city. This is a needed investment in our well-being. Let’s do this.
READING TO KIDS
In your sister publication, Capital City Parent (Spring 2019), Cinda Klickna offered an excellent article, “Why parents need to read to their children – starting at birth.” She is correct when she states that the most critical stage for brain development is birth to 3 years of age. As a former reading teacher, I saw the need for putting baby and toddler books in the homes of low-income children.
I formed a project called WordUp of Central Illinois. WordUp takes donations of new and gently used board books (the cardboard type meant for babies and toddlers) and distributes them to organizations serving families in poverty, such as Central Counties Health Centers and the food pantry at First Presbyterian Church.
Thank you, Ms. Klickna for educating the public. If anyone has board books to donate, contact WordUp at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Linda L. Johnson
BE AWARE OF BICYCLISTS
On April 9, ABC broadcast an episode of “Black-ish” in which there was a reference to swerving a car close to a bicyclist just to scare the person. As a victim of a hit-and-run, I feel I must weigh in on this. It is wrong to swerve toward any vehicle (and bikes are vehicles) in which the driver or rider has the right to be in that lane.
Illinois was 15th in the nation in 2012 for bike/car accidents in which there was a death. Those statistics may be seven years old, but there is a need even now to be very watchful and get off your phone. Don’t drive drunk or impaired, and quit being in such a hurry to get where you’re going.
The Springfield Bicycle Club will be hosting “The Ride of Silence” on May 15 at 7 p.m. to recognize bicyclists around the world who have been injured or killed while cycling.
E.J. Kienzler II