DOT holds up worthy tree project
On Nov. 20, 2009, the City of Charleston planted 15 live oaks on the south side of Calhoun Street from Lockwood Drive to Ashley Avenue.
The live oaks were purchased with funds raised by Charleston Trees, a committee of the Charleston Horticultural Society, from over 100 businesses and individuals who believe that a major thoroughfare like Calhoun Street deserves, if not an Avenue of Oaks, at least as many live oaks as can be planted between the palmettos.
At the dedication ceremony, Danny Burbage, the city’s urban forester, told the crowd of donors and supporters that he planned to plant another 80 live oaks along Calhoun Street, ending up at East Bay Street.
Alas, nothing has been done because the S.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) told the city to stop planting. DOT owns Calhoun Street and the adjacent sidewalks, They think the roots of live oaks damage sidewalks, their canopies interfere with traffic and their trunks are dangerous to vehicles.
What DOT doesn’t realize is that the live oaks that the city buys have been pruned and clipped, that the city maintains the sidewalks and, most importantly, that it is an established fact that trees planted along a thoroughfare create a calming effect, slowing traffic.
The city has been trying to negotiate with DOT but has so far been unsuccessful.
We hope that something can be worked out before next year’s planting season, and that Calhoun Street will be graced with live oaks.
Perhaps there is someone at DOT who will help resolve this problem.
We are certainly eager to work this out for the enhancement of our city.
Chairs, Charleston Trees