Saturday, August 29, 2009

This is a Great Idea

Ritchie Smith Associates has a plan to plant trees on Plough Boulevard on the way to the Memphis Airport. Lots of them. Canopy trees and about 650 smaller trees.

This is a really good idea. We all know that Plough Boulevard is one of the world's most uniformly dull roads to have to look at. Much to its credit, the road is really fun to drive on. Everyone's going about 15-20 miles over the limit, it's got lengthy and graceful curves, enough space that it isn't usually traffic-ridden, and bridges a very long expanse that brings people into and out of Memphis.

There's a good article on this in the Flyer this week, but I just wanted to spread this idea a bit to the wider world. Because I think it matters to everyone.

America is beginning to look like hell.

I've been loads of places, mainly because my parents drove to everywhere when I was a kid, so I've been to most of the contiguous states, and I've been to Hawaii. So I've been lucky enough to see a huge amount of this country, which is a wicked land indeed. The land. The stuff we didn't mess with. The San Francisco Bay. The Na Pali coast. The Badlands. Maine. Even New Jersey, which remains the greatest of the states in this union, is really truly beautiful in the places we didn't go and wreck.

I'd argue the primary reason for one of these dilemmas--the one that pertains to Plough--is that we, as a nation and voting citizenry, haven't done hardly worth a damn for keeping the infrastructure together. Plough Boulevard, frankly, is a nice road. But the stuff around it isn't worth looking at

How many pot holes can you think of that you've driven past recently?

If the number is more than 10 in a week, your neighborhood needs some work. Mine does. Lots of Memphis does. Lots of everywhere does.

How many roads can you think of that don't have trees on them?

I can think of lots. One of the biggest roads in Memphis--Union Avenue--apparently used to have loads of trees on it. Then they cut them all down and replaced them with Chik-Fil-A and a Schnucks and a dozen Walgreens and MacDonalds and Wendy's and all that crap. Now, on one level right now, I'm not arguing against these chains. I'm just enraged by the fact I can't drive down lots of roads under the cover of trees. There's plenty of roads here that have trees. Just like in New Jersey, when I was a kid. Just like where my parents live now. Like lots of places.

More trees make for better experiences. For people coming and going to Memphis to and from the airport. For people who live near them and get to look at them. For people that walk under them in the heat. For people that drive under them and don't get a glare on the windshield.

Ya smell me?

You probably don't. Cause the trees help filter the air.

Plant the damn trees. You've already got my tax money. Quit spending it on bombs. Give it to Ritchie Smith and everyone else who wants to plant trees. It'll make everything nicer. I promise.

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