Urban Forest Plan

University Avenue, mid 1930's
49. University Avenue, mid 1930's

University Avenue Today
50. University Avenue Today

Dunning Hall Frontage: Pavement around Trees
51. Dunning Hall Frontage: Pavement around Trees

University Avenue:  Existing Condition
52. University Avenue: Existing Condition

University Avenue:  Improvement Concept
53. University Avenue: Improvement Concept

University Avenue: Original Cross-section
54. University Avenue: Original Cross-section

University Avenue: Existing Cross-section
55. University Avenue: Existing Cross-section

University Avenue: Proposed Cross-section
56. University Avenue: Proposed Cross-section


University Avenue was planned in a grand manner as the ceremonial street and central spine of the campus. A comprehensive reconstruction of the streetscape is needed to restore the original pattern that reflected quality and timelessness: that of a single roadway flanked by large street trees with arched canopy, set in spacious lawns behind broad sidewalks.

Priority rating: 1

The streetscape character established pre-WWII, when majestic elms flanked the avenue, has been eroded by elm disease. Postwar development such as the planting of ornamental trees in the median of the boulevard has also changed the character by reducing the spatial scale and obscuring the flanking buildings. The most significant and historical street of the Queen's campus is now in a state of decline. Many of the trees are mature and in declining health. The continual increase in pavement around the bases of the trees has further stressed these trees. Many of the trees that formed a linear planting or avenue have died over the have and have either never been replaced or replaced with a lesser quality tree. There are a number of voids in the streetscape. The median planting of predominantly Crabapples is both inappropriate and in poor condition.

New plantings have been started at the northwest section of University Avenue by interplanting Norway Maples in paving, between the mature Silver and Red Maples. While it is desirable to start a new generation of canopy, these trees will have a very difficult time surviving. Plans to further pave the street edges would inflict further damage and stress on all of these trees, making the planting of new trees by itself inadvisable. The ideal time to plant trees in paved conditions is during construction, when proper tree pit design and construction can be provided. Interim plantings should therefore be kept to a minimum, preferably be limited to plantings in the soft landscape along building facades.

The approach approved in the 1994 Campus Plan, and reinforced here, is to establish a comprehensive reconstruction scheme which narrows the road pavement and thereby a) provides space for broad flanking sidewalks, and b) allows the extension of soft landscape or lawns from the building faces to encompass the zone for tree planting (see accompanying plans and sections taken from the 1994 Campus Plan). The lawns should be protected from pedestrian trespass by seat walls, which would also provide opportunities for social gathering. This scheme will allow both the retention of existing and the introduction of new trees in a much healthier environment.

As an important street on the campus, University Avenue should receive a high level of maintenance. General maintenance should include a complete pruning and fertilizing program to aid the surviving trees. Dead trees should be removed to improve the appearance and image of the street. New streetscape details should encourage the implementation of continuous tree pits, designed with proper volume, drainage, aeration, compaction protection and irrigation.

Species recommendation

Street tree
   Acer x 'Jeffersred', Autumn Blaze Maple
   Acer rubrum, Red Maple
   Corylus colurna, Turkish Hazel
   Quercus robur, English Oak
   Ulmus 'Pioneer', Pioneer Elm

Accent tree
   Acer rubrum 'Armstrong', Armstrong Maple
   Carpinus betulus 'Fastigiata', European Hornbeam
   Quercus robur 'Fastigiata', Pyramidal English Oak
   Abies concolor, Silver Fir
   Picea pungens 'Hoopsii', Hoopsii Blue Spruce
   Pinus strobus, White Pine