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Margaret Street’s Boulevards, Who Cares…for Them?

Submitted by Editor on July 17, 2018 – 1:50 pm | Print or Email »No Comment

From EHNA Steering Committee President Mark Ruddy …

When Margaret Street was redone in 2008 and 2009 she incorporated features to make her safer, at the request of our Neighborhood Association. The narrowing at intersections known as bump outs made the street easier to cross and also provided boulevards for trees and perennials that further made the street appear even narrower, causing traffic to be feel instinctively cautious and then slow down.

When street work was done the boulevards from Highland Avenue south, to her end at Harding Avenue, were mostly planted into perennials and trees as part of this traffic calming goal. The northern half of Margaret was not planted in perennials because city staff wanted to first see if the southern perennial areas were cared for over time. The city provided the original perennials at no expense to the Neighbors on a one-time basis.

We are grateful to all Neighbors who have helped maintain these perennials over the past nine years!

Some of those areas weren’t maintained well. In 2017 the Neighborhood Association worked to clean up most of the boulevards. In addition, we were the catalyst that got the Forestry Department to plant 31 trees last year to support the goal of slower traffic. Our attempts to do our part to slow traffic by these initiatives helped us to gain city approval to lower the speed limit on Margaret to 25 mph.

The city also provided us free perennials for two boulevards this spring, at Margaret’s intersections with Highland and Valmont.

The boulevards are technically on city property but the city requires the contiguous households to maintain them. Initially some Neighbors probably did not enthusiastically approve of the Neighborhood Association’s plan that they were required to maintain these areas in perennials. Others moved into these homes with little understanding of who was to keep them groomed. Over time some perennials were replaced with grass, stones or wood mulch, devoid of perennials.

All owners or renters of the sites with boulevard perennials or other coverings are asked to keep them up. For those who don’t want to or can’t, the Association recruits volunteers to help. Because these safety features benefit our whole Neighborhood we can think of them as our “common” area that means we all can play a role in keeping Margaret Street safe and attractive because it benefits all of us, not just the contiguous home owner or renter.

Caring for the boulevards includes watering young trees and the perennials, filling plants in at bare spots, and weeding. We can help you access replacement perennials. We can work with you to get wood chips to help reduce weeding and conserve moisture. Plants are selected that withstand road salt and other street-side conditions.

Our Neighborhood Association’s goal is to hold steady or increase the number of boulevards that are planted in perennials. Rather than covering the boulevards with small stones or just mulch, the preference is to plant them in perennials because their height and spread is more conducive to calming traffic.

The word boulevard historically is French, originally meaning a protective bulwark or ramparts with a walkway/promenade at the top of these raised, protective fortifications. A boulevarder, is someone who spends time on the boulevard. The French term for such a male is boulevardier (pronounced bool-var-dya); the female term is boulevardiere (pronounced bool-var-dair). We ask you to join these volunteers/boulevarders to maintain Margaret.

To make it safer when working on the boulevards with the close traffic there are safety vests and orange traffic cones available at 1321 Margaret Street. Help yourself; use them as needed and return the items for others to use.

With questions or offers to volunteer contact Mark at 839-7949; markruddy55@yahoo.com.

Margaret thanks you!

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