Sunday, May 13, 2007

Trees to help block auto exhaust at Arden Middle School

Trees will be a breath of fresh air for school

By Chris Bowman - Bee Staff Writer

Last Updated 12:18 am PDT Saturday, May 12, 2007
Story appeared in METRO section, Page B1

This is a great idea. For years, I've wondered about the air quality at Arden Middle School. In fact, I decided to take it out of the running as a potential middle school for my son because of my own (usually overprotective) air-quality concerns. Back then it was just a hunch. Now the high concentration of particulate pollution at the school has been verified, quantified and they're working on an arboreal solution. Yay trees!

This school is located on the corner of Watt Avenue and Arden Way in Sacramento, CA. Arden is a fairly busy street, but Watt is a multi-lane major thoroughfare for neighborhood traffic and cars and trucks getting off and on Highways 50 and 80. Plus, the light at the intersection of Watt and Arden is a long one, which means lots of idling cars followed by accelerating cars. All day long. Cough, cough, choke, choke. I'm surprised those kids aren't walking around with oxygen tanks, hunched over like longtime pack-a-day smokers.

I applaud the efforts to improve school grounds air quality by planting a tree buffer. I just wish they'd consider greater tree diversity. Another Bee article stated that redwood trees were tops at intercepting auto exhaust. I wonder why only oaks and cedars were planted. I'd also like to point out the obvious aesthetic benefits of planting trees at the school. Arden being a very tree-oriented neighborhood, I'm surprised they weren't planted sooner for beautification reasons... and to give the kids some shade. Is it because of safety and maintenance issues? Dunno, but I'm glad to see this much-needed buffer being installed.

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