Plant 23,000 shade trees to replace trees the city cut down in the past five years.
The city has removed 23,000 dead or dangerous trees from neighborhoods since 2001.15 The city promised to remove the blighting effect of these problem trees and replace them with healthy trees. However, this second step was not begun.
Trees offer valuable services to neighborhoods. Trees can reduce asthma by absorbing pollutants that would otherwise enter children's lungs, reduce flooding after a storm by soaking up rainwater, and decrease the risk of heat-related deaths by bringing down home temperatures. In addition, tree-lined streets are more attractive to current residents and new homebuyers. The city should plant a tree to replace each tree it cut down by 2011.
Philadelphia has fewer street trees than its peer cities. Based upon the best data available, Philadelphia lost 200,000 street trees from 1976 to 2004.16 We have half the number of street trees as Baltimore and one third as many as Chicago.
Cities such as Los Angeles are adding up to a million trees because trees present a shrewd investment, offering a $2.80 return on each dollar spent in energy savings, pollution reduction, stormwater management, and increased property values. 18
Trees Reduce Asthma: Trees absorb unhealthy air pollutants that can cause symptoms in the one out of three Philadelphia households with a member who has asthma.
Trees Reduce Flooding and Clean Our Water: Each tree can soak up almost 2,000 gallons of rainwater each year and clean it naturally.19
Trees Increase Retail Profitability: Studies show that people prefer to shop on tree-lined streets and will spend more time and money at these stores.20
Trees Reduce Energy Costs and Lower Heat-Related Deaths: Trees can cut a household's energy bill by up to 25% each year21 and prevent homes from heating up to dangerous levels in the summer.