The Transportation Plan update is being done in conjunction with Seattle’s One Seattle Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan is updated every 10 years to assist Seattle in planning for its growth in people, jobs, and housing over the next 20 years. The Transportation Plan guides the transportation component of the One Seattle Plan update. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) notes that

“Our transportation system is more than just roads. It includes sidewalks, bridges, stairways, transit, paths and trails, bike lanes, crosswalks, public spaces like street cafes and benches, and much more. The transportation system is how everyone moves around the city, connecting us to places and opportunities. But COVID-19, climate change, and rapid population growth make it hard to keep this system running smoothly. That’s why we want to create a sustainable system that works now and in the future.”

Missing from their discussion is the role of Seattle’s trees and urban forest in our transportation system. Land devoted to transportation in Seattle is about 23% of the city’s area. It contributes about 22% of the city’s tree canopy. SDOT is responsible for maintaining and growing these trees. Hard pavement like concrete and asphalt in roads and sidewalks absorb heat and create heat islands. As seen last year, excessive heat can be deadly. Trees are an important climate resiliency and mitigation factor in reducing heat island impacts by shading streets and sidewalks. Trees transpiring water also create cooling effects. Trees were shown to create as much as a 25-degree Fahrenheit temperature difference in a recent county wide study done by Seattle and King County.
Please comment on the Transportation Plan, noting that the trees and urban forest under SDOT’s oversight and responsibility are an important part of Seattle’s transportation system.
Note that the comment section is at the very bottom of the long page. You can also take their survey. Alternatively, you can also send your comments via an e-mail directly to
Some examples of issues regarding trees to use in your comments:
  • Planting more trees along streets and sidewalks will reduce urban heat island impacts.
  • Environmental equity and justice require SDOT to plant and maintain more trees in low canopy areas.
  • SDOT needs to give priority to protecting existing trees and watering new trees to ensure their survival.
  • Trees are important for both physical and mental health.
  • Big trees can and need to be planted for more shade on the street side where there are no power lines.
  • Trees along busy streets will help slow traffic and increase safety for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike.
  • More trees along streets in shopping areas and urban villages will encourage people to shop locally and help local businesses thrive.
  • Trees planted along streets in industrial areas are needed to reduce pollution and stormwater runoff.
  • SDOT should consider using more alternative sidewalk repair techniques s like flexible rubber and raised sidewalks to deal with tree roots. This would save more existing trees.
  • Trees planted around transit stops would provide shade for people waiting for buses.
  • Trees planted along streets where kids walk to school make streets safer.
  • Trees help reduce stormwater and pollution runoff.
  • Trees help clean the air of pollution.
  • Trees planted along greenways and bike lanes reduce heat impacts and would increase their use.
  • Street trees encourage people to get out walking and meet their neighbors. This in turn contributes to a sense of community that increases quality of life and reduces crime.
  • Street trees, through their cooling impact and esthetics, makes walking enjoyable and gets people out of their cars.

Thank you for commenting for the trees!

Katy, Don’t Clearcut Seattle


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  • Don’t Clearcut Seattle is currently recommending donations to TreePAC. TreePAC is raising funds to conduct a poll in Seattle on trees and housing. You can see their two previous polls here which showed strong support for protecting Seattle’s urban forest. Please consider a  donation today. Thanks!