Protect Charlestown’s Tree Canopy (PCTC)

Protect Charlestown’s Tree Canopy (PCTC)

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Charlestown Tree Canopy Preservation started this petition to City of Boston and

We are writing with respect to a plan to remove over 250 mature trees from a BHA occupied parcel in Charlestown as part of the multi-phase Bunker Hill Housing redevelopment project. These trees represent nearly 75% of the trees on this parcel of land.

The removal of these mature trees runs counter to the City of Boston’s commitment to protect its existing tree canopy for the health and well-being of its residents. Charlestown is a tree desert, with one of the lowest tree canopies (approx. 11%) in the city. The loss of these trees, many decades old and irreplaceable, would account for approximately 10% of Charlestown’s entire canopy - and their removal has real consequences.  According to the Climate Ready Boston Map Explorer this area of Charlestown is considered socially vulnerable, prone to floods, and is on the precipice of becoming a severe heat island, as it is surrounded on all sides by blocks of high heat. This particular parcel of BHA land is one of the ‘coolest’ sections in Charlestown; the removal of these trees will undoubtedly create another urban heat pocket. 


Furthermore, the loss of these trees comes at a significant cost to residents. Mature trees provide cleaner air (reducing pollution and rates of asthma), offer social benefits inviting the use of outdoor spaces and fostering a sense of community, create shade, increase the aesthetic beauty of the city, are associated with decreased crime rates and higher property values, and deliver proven mental health benefits such as reduced cortisol (stress) levels .

Without question, there is an immediate need for construction of new, deeply affordable homes in the neighborhood. However, given the City’s climate resiliency and tree preservation goals, along with myriad benefits for residents, we demand that serious efforts be made to preserve these mature trees. The misguided notion that we must choose between the development of deeply affordable housing for members of our community and hundreds of mature trees, many of which are 60-80 years old, is a false choice. With a better design, we can have both.


Authority for the design plan lies with BCDC. We ask that they ensure that any design plans incorporate the existing trees as a guiding principle. They can find examples of this type of creative design at 83 Gardner Street in Allston by the Hamilton Company that successfully preserved twin mature elm trees. Similarly, in Cambridge, the developer Spaulding & Slye adjusted their design to build around a large mature copper beech tree instead of removing it.

Please join in adding your voice and ask the Boston Civic Design Commission, the City, and the development team to preserve this urban forest - for today, tomorrow and generations to come. 

Watch a video of these trees at https://youtu.be/OxnXBTKXK2E

 

 

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At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!