Monday, December 2, 2013

Let's Happily Hug Our Trees!

Note: This post will be of most interest to readers in the area of Brookings, South Dakota. It was submitted as a letter to the editor of the Brookings Register on December 2, 2013.



No doubt many of us were pleased to hear that the Brookings City Council and Mayor Tim Reed are united in their opposition to a South Dakota Department of Transportation plan to widen 6th Street and destroy the bystanding trees in the process (Brookings Register, 11/27/2013). This part of DOT’s “upgrade” of Highway 14, slated for 2017, would be a huge “downgrade” for our community.

Wise to remove unhealthy trees, folly to destroy the healthy.
Even if my family’s home didn’t stand smack-dab in the middle of the area that would be affected by this “downgrade,” I would be heartily thanking our city leadership for their resistance to the plan.

I love the grand old trees along 6th (some of them likely a century old) that would be felled by this project. Old trees are irreplaceable, and preciousespecially now, when we have lost so many of our city’s trees in recent years to Dutch Elm disease.

I’m glad that traffic from Medary to Main moves as slowly as it does. In fact, I would even welcome a lowering of the speed limit on that stretch to 25mph in order to protect pedestrians, reduce the risk of accidents (especially when turning), and quiet the neighborhood. The idea of widening the street to increase traffic flow through this beautiful residential and historic neighborhood seems unwise, especially when vehicles in a hurry already have the convenient option of a by-pass.

If you agree that 6th Street from Medary to Main should not be widened, I strongly encourage you to join me (and our city government) in expressing your opinion to the state Department of Transportation. Here is the relevant contact information:

Secretary of Transportation Darin Bergquist               Jeff Senst (lead engineer)
SD Department of Transportation                                (same mailing address)
Becker-Hansen Building                                              605.626.2244
700 E. Broadway Ave.                                                 jeff.senst@state.sd.us
Pierre, SD 57501
605.773.3265

Let’s happily hug our community’s trees!

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