Why do we insist on Bradford Pears?

Spring’s come early to our city and the Bradford pears are in full bloom. As I was walking to work the other day, I couldn’t help but think how lovely they were to look at. But the smell was something else entirely.

Bradford pear trees on Coffee Street in downtown Greenville 

Bradfords were first developed in the early 1960’s and for the next few decades were promoted heavily in downtowns and other urban areas as landscape trees, largely due to their resistance to disease and their ability to withstand pollution.

Clearly, this was an era where cities were designed for cars, rather than cyclists or pedestrians. How else could a city planner, in all good conscience, plant such stinky trees along all our city sidewalks? As for me, I’m now detouring around the Bradfords and walking to work past the community garden instead.