The ubiquitous john m posted this morning an “unsubstantiated rumor” about tree removal in Shockoe. Having just ridden my bike through the bottom, I can indeed confirm that the city has cut down all the trees on E. Main St. between 17th & 18th- fresh sawdust, leaves, and tree stumps are all that’s left.

No one on the net seems to know why this has happened, though a lively discussion is ongoing.

Theories include:

  • Anti-crime measure
  • Increased storefront visibility
  • The trees were old

A quick call to the city arborist’s office revealed that the trees were removed at the request of the Shockoe Bottom Merchant’s Association. SBMA representative Heather Trong asked the city to assess the trees for a number of reasons: they were encroaching on businesses, buildings, power lines, and street lights. Luke McCall, the city arborist additionally felt they had outgrown their space.

Mr. McCall indicated that the trees would be replaced by a smaller species this fall- possibly Crepe Myrtles.