Lake City Way Corridor Tree Planting

This past weekend, SDOT Urban Forestry celebrated Earth Day a few days early by planting 12 new trees in the median stretching between NE Northgate Way and NE 123rd Street. And, in addition to being a nod to Earth Day (April 22), these plantings are a part of the larger Lake City Way Traffic Safety Project, which launched in March 2014. As numerous studies have shown that people are less likely to speed, less likely to get in an accident, and feel lower levels of stress when driving on a tree-lined street, SDOT’s Landscape Architect’s office thought that new street trees might be just what this busy corridor needed.

But the benefits of Lake City’s new trees don’t stop at road safety – the environmental benefits are great as well. In the spring of 2014, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) undertook the Thornton Creek Confluence Project, a project that aims to reduce pollutant runoff and flooding, and improve habitat in and around nearby Thornton Creek, part of which flows directly under Lake City Way. SDOT’s work in the median this past weekend will help SPU in these efforts. Once these new trees get established, they will intercept significant amounts of rainfall, thereby increasing the amount of water absorbed into the soil and evaporated back into the air, and reducing the amount of excess runoff making its way into Thornton Creek.

LCW Trees before

SDOT Urban Forestry crews prepping the planting site on Lake City Way.

LCWtreeplantingAPR2015 014 (2)crop

A few of the completed plantings. In total, eight ‘Patriot’ elms and four ‘Norwegian Sunset’ maples were planted.

Next weekend, SDOT crews will stretch this year’s Earth Day celebration into an “Earth Week” by planting 12 additional trees between 123rd Street and 133rd Street on Lake City Way – check back soon for more photos of the project!

Interested in getting involved with Earth Day yourself? Check out the official Earth Day website at www.earthday.org.