Neighborhood leader and former Parks Advisory Board memberRoanoke, Virginia
New trees slowed traffic and made the neighborhood safer
"This stretch of road was a racetrack," said Roanoke, Virginia, resident James Settle, recalling how speeding cars used to pour across a nearby bridge, down his street and past his family's home.
Walking in James' neighborhood was truly a dangerous proposition – until the City of Roanoke planted 26 ornamental and shade trees at the foot of the bridge. The trees grew into an effective entryway to the neighborhood and a buffer between busy traffic and single-family homes. The constancy of speeding cars subsided.
James says he has never felt safer, and the 26 trees made the difference.
"If we could do only one thing as a neighborhood, we'd plant trees," he said.
While other neighborhoods hope to realize the same safety benefits, a challenging budget environment in Roanoke has lowered the number of trees the city can plant. James has inspired a local volunteer group of tree stewards to step up to fill the void, with the goal of giving every resident the same sense of comfort he now experiences