The Vancouver Model of Traffic Safety Includes Trees
David Goldberg shares the story of Vancouver's approach to street trees, and their benefit to traffic safety.
In the late 20th century, the city began to use traffic circles and curb bulges — or bulbs, as they’re known stateside — to slow traffic in residential areas, and quickly learned that the new spaces provided an opportunity for gardening. Vancouver’s popular Green Streets program recruits volunteers to tend gardens in the traffic calming spaces, with the city paying for the initial planting. In the 1990s, the city began converting side streets into “bike boulevards” and pursued a “greenways” plan that tore out asphalt and concrete in some places to make park-like streets where biking and walking were comfortable. Today, the city has 108 miles of such corridors.
According to Golberg, Vancouver's connection between trees and safety is a unique take on the "complete streets" concept of street design. Vancouver implements its street trees programs in accordance with the Renewable City action plan from 2015 and the Greenest City action plan from 2015. The city is also currently working on an integrated stormwater management plan.