Congressman's Earth Day Message: Trees Make Better Drivers

By Nicholas Ballasy | April 21, 2010 | 7:11 PM EDT

( – In a pre-Earth Day speech before the Alliance for Community Trees on Wednesday, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) said that more trees lining urban streets makes people better drivers.
“Having an urban tree canopy actually retards speeding,” said Blumenauer.
“The evidence is powerful that people, when they are given a streetscape with street trees, that can--it has an effect,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s calming or it changes the visual impact on them, but it changes driving behavior and makes those communities safer.”

The Alliance for Community Trees is a coalition of more than 100 organizations involved in “grassroots community greening, public education, policymaking, and other activities supporting better urban forest stewardship.”
Their mission is to “support grassroots, citizen-based nonprofit organizations dedicated to urban and community tree planting, care, conservation, and education.”
“If we implement an aggressive program, it will help save billions of dollars of water improvement,” said Blumenauer. “It will make a big difference in improving water quality.”
Blumenauer made his remarks at a forum on “Municipal Sustainability” held at the Methodist Building in Washington, D.C., one of several events sponsored by the Alliance for Community Trees in preparation for Earth Day on Thursday, Apr. 22.